ΜΠΕΝΑΚΗ
COPTIC ART
Benaki Museum
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Coptic Art


The Benaki Museum's collection of Coptic art includes a uniquely rich group of textiles. These fabrics recently received international exposure through the European programme Tissus, when specialists and researchers from all over the world were able to gain access to them following their publication on the Internet.

The blending of elements, derived from the local Egyptian tradition and Greco-Roman civilisation with vigorous newer elements of the Christian religion, is very clearly reflected in the textiles which comprise this particular collection. The stress on ornament, the stylisation of the human figure, the emphasis on depicting local subjects such as Nile landscapes, and above all the expressive immediacy of the scenes themselves, are all distignuishing features of Coptic art.

Some of the textiles in the collection reproduce the subject matter and aesthetic tendencies of the great artistic centres of the day. These fragmentary objects are the only evidence we have of the appearance of luxurious silk cloths which have for the most part been lost.