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Coptic Textile Fragment with Image of a Goddess

Object Name:
Fragment
Date:
late 3rd–4th century
Geography:
Egypt
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Linen, wool; plain weave, weft-loop pile
Dimensions:
Textile: H. 22 1/16 in. (56 cm) W. 24 13/16 in. (63 cm) Mount: H. 26 1/4 in. (66.7 cm) W. 29 1/4 in. (74.3 cm) D. 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm)
Classification:
Textiles
Credit Line:
Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910
Accession Number:
10.130.1076
  • Description

    The use of gold in the depiction of the female head on this fragment may be an allusion to the moon, or to moonlight. The crescent-shaped ornament in the woman’s hair identifies the image as a personification of Luna, the moon, or Diana, goddess of hunting and the chase. In classical mythology, Diana also presides over childbirth and protects the young. Such images were widely used on textiles, wall paintings, and mosaics throughout the Late Antique world. While large textile fragments like this one were discovered as burial wrappings, they probably originally belonged in a domestic setting and their exact use remains uncertain.

  • Provenance

    Chauncey Murch, Luxor, Egypt (until d. 1907); Mrs. Chauncey Murch(1907–10); Helen Miller Gould, New York (1910; gifted to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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