Survivals of the Old Religions

Coptic art drew upon the visual language of the Pharaonic and Greco-Roman eras to help represent the beliefs of the new religion. The rich visual legacy of these preceding eras resulted in a transformation of ancient motifs and artistic styles that were reshaped to an outstanding effect. One of the most popular symbols from ancient Egypt was the Ankh, the key of life, which was transformed by the Copts into a cross. An overlap of the symbolic language of pagan and Christian societies resulted in the creation of complex artistic concepts, which granted Coptic art a prominent place in the art of Late Antiquity.

An overlap of pagan and Christian motifs is clearly visible on this broken pediment.
The motif of two erotes holding a wreath is based on a Roman prototype. 4th – 5th century AD.

This gravestone is decorated with the ancient symbol, ankh. Ca. 6th century AD.

<< previous | next >>