Coptic textiles (4th-6th centuries)

Most textiles known as 'Coptic' are from Christian cemeteries in Egypt. They date from the 3rd century AD onwards, finally merging with Islamic textile types in the 11th or 12th centuries. The exceptionally dry conditions in Egypt have made possible the survival of all kinds of organic material, including many large Coptic textiles, with well-preserved colour. Considerable numbers of these textiles were excavated between c. 1880 and c. 1910, particularly at Akhmim and Antinoöpolis and in the region of Faiyum.

Many museums worldwide have small collections. Items recovered are mainly fragmentary or complete tunics, mantles and furnishing textiles; the latter were wrapped around the bodies over the clothing. Most pieces show signs of wear and repair. It was formerly the practice after excavation to cut out and keep only well preserved and decorated areas.

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Fragment of a textile
6th century
Tapestry weave
Musée du Louvre, Paris

893*950
True Color
251 Kb



Figure holding a Peacock
5th century
Tapestry weave
Centre de Documentació i Museu Textil, Terrassa (Barcelona)

917*950
True Color
226 Kb



Nereid
5th century
Tapestry weave
Centre de Documentació i Museu Textil, Terrassa (Barcelona)

856*950
True Color
245 Kb



Fragment from a Coptic Hanging
5th century
Linen, wool; plain weave, tapestry-weave, 104 x 63 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

887*1350
True Color
245 Kb



Tunic with Dionysian Ornament
5th century
Linen, wool; plain weave, tapestry weave, 183 x 135 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1303*1500
True Color
220 Kb



Panel with the Triumph of Dionysos
4th century
Wool, linen; tapestry weave, 22 x 34 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1050*699
True Color
234 Kb



Artemis and Acteon
5th century
Tapestry, 147 x 183 cm
British Museum, London

1350*1112
True Color
251 Kb



Fragment of a textile
4th century
Tapestry weave
Centre de Documentació i Museu Textil, Terrassa (Barcelona)

780*800
True Color
229 Kb



Tunic
5th century
Wool and linen
Ägyptischen Museum, Munich

897*1350
True Color
246 Kb



Fragment of a textile
4th century
Tapestry weave
Centre de Documentació i Museu Textil, Terrassa (Barcelona)

784*1000
True Color
239 Kb