Egypt, Coptic, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. A very rare funerary stele presenting two draped figures within an incised temple-like entry - the edifice with an incised triangular pediment above, stairs below, and columns to each side - all these details are incised, and some are further highlighted with pigment. Some remains of an inscription grace the stairs. The figures, also incised and painted, are standing with their arms raised in orant gestures, their bodies covered with drapery - the folds of which cascade across their bodies, their frontal visages presenting solemn expressions with well painted and modeled features. Size: 8.75" L x 8.5" W (22.2 cm x 21.6 cm); 12.125" L x 12" W (30.8 cm x 30.5 cm) in custom frame
Funerary stelae were important elements of tombs during the Coptic period. These could include pictorial and/or inscriptions to memorialize the deceased, and have been found made of various materials - wood, terracotta, alabaster, granite, limestone, and marble. They were traditionally placed within a niche that was dug from a mound covering the tomb, displayed within burial chapels, or positioned directly over the pit on the ground.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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