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Round Insert from a Coptic Tunic or Shawl. Attributed to Egypt, 7th century. Materials; Linen, wool; plain weave, tapestry weave. Measurement; L. 12 18/8 in. (30.8 cm) W. 13 7/8 in. (35.2 cm) D. 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York City.


This tapestry was most likely discovered in a burial site in Egypt, and likely had once been part of a larger Coptic tunic or shawl. The intricate weaving depicts plantlike-shapes surrounding a group of what appears to be stylized lions with claw feet, which encase the main focus on the insert, a female with a halo surrounding her head. According to the MET, the specific goddess represented is difficult to identify because of the heavy stylization, but complex woven decorations containing haloed females with lions, palmettes, and vases, were a popular Late Antique era subject, and due to contextual details in similar works, we can infer that the featured female is a Goddess. With this third example, we can begin to gather that many cultures, as different as they are, would be able to see this image and properly assume the subject's divine status.

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