Coptic art is characterized by a high degree of stylization verging on abstraction. Forms are flattened out, and individual motifs acquire bold simplicity and decorative character. Subject matter represents both Christian and Roman sources. Remains of wall paintings reveal scenes from the Old and New Testaments and images of the Mother and Child. Some of the archaeological sites are El-Bagawat, Oxyrhynchus, Sakkara, Bawit, and Antinoë. Representative examples of Coptic art are in sculpture, textiles, ivory, and illumination. Coptic architecture, as shown in the 5th-century White and Red monasteries near Sohag, showed traces of local Egyptian traditions.
See K. Wessel, Coptic Art: The Early Christian Art of Egypt (1965) and D. L. Carroll, Looms and Textiles of the Copts (1988).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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