Egypt’s Coptic Church is one of the oldest in the world, with a cultural tradition dating back two millennia, during which time churches have been built and a variety of distinctive art forms have flourished. The world’s largest and most exquisite collection of Coptic artifacts is now housed in the Coptic Museum, founded in Old Cairo in 1908. Here for the first time, in this lavishly illustrated book, more than one hundred of the greatest treasures of the Coptic Museum have been beautifully photographed to present an overview of this rich artistic heritage. Objects from churches and monasteries across Egypt include some of the finest examples of Coptic icons, stelae, sculptures, wall paintings, wooden altar screens, metal crosses, censers, liturgical implements and vestments, chandeliers, and bible caskets. Besides being objects of great craftsmanship and beauty, these artifacts, which range in date from the third to the nineteenth centuries, represent indispensable material for the study of the origins and development of Coptic art, as well as its relations with the ancient Egyptian, Byzantine, and Islamic traditions. Textiles, ceramics, terracotta, ivory and bone carvings, and documents (including the famous Nag Hammadi Gnostic library from the fourth century, one of the most valuable collections of papyri in the world) provide invaluable insights into the economic and social life of Egypt over the past two thousand years. In addition to objects from the Coptic Museum, this book also includes photographs of surrounding churches, some of Egypt’s oldest, that illustrate the architectural legacy of the Copts. The accompanying text and captions provide a description of Coptic civilization in general and Coptic art in particular.
The Treasures of Coptic Art
in the Coptic Museum and Churches of Old Cairo
28 February 2007
160 color illus.
For sale worldwide
Also available by this author
Hany N. Takla
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt and in what was once Nubia, from as early as the fourth century until the present day. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Aswan and Nubia over the past centuries. The complexity of Christian identity in Nubia, as distinct from Egypt, is examined in the context of church ritual and architecture. Many of the studies explore Coptic material culture: inscriptions, art, architecture, and archaeology; and language and literature. The archaeological and artistic heritage of monastic sites in Edfu, Aswan, Makuria, and Kom Ombo are highlighted, attesting to their important legacies in the region....read more
29 April 2013
91 b/w illus.
Minya and AsyutEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have long flourished along the Nile in Middle Egypt, the region stretching from al-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus) to Dayr al-Ganadla. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Middle Egypt over the past two millennia. The studies explore Coptic art and archaeology, architecture, language, and literature. The artistic heritage of monastic sites in the region is highlighted, attesting to their important legacies....read more
20 November 2015
90 b/w illus.
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin KrauseEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity began in the large and fertile Fayoum oasis of Egypt’s Western Desert as early as the third century, and its presence has endured to the present day. This volume, which constitutes a tribute to the scholarly work of the father of modern Coptology, Martin Krause, contains contributions on various aspects of Coptic civilization in Egypt’s largest oasis over the past eighteen hundred years. The contributors are all international specialists in Coptology, from Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the United States. A number of the studies included in this volume deal with recent archaeological discoveries at Deir al-Banat, the early Christian graves in the necropolis at the eastern edge of the Fayoum, and the monastic settlements and medieval Coptic cemetery at Naqlun. Others provide thorough examinations of archaeological sites at Karanis, Tebtunis, and Naqlun. Contributions cover the rich Christian literary heritage in Greek, Coptic, and Arabic, while art historians touch on the famous Fayoum portraits and their influence on the production of Coptic icons, as well as on the medieval wall paintings at Naqlun and in textiles, metal objects, and basketry from the region. This important volume provides for the first time an up-to-date, comprehensive treatment of Christianity and monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis. Contributors: Father Bigoul al-Suriany, Roger S. Bagnall, Dominique Bénazeth, Anne Boud’hors, Ramez Boutros, Karl-Heinz Brune, Barbara Czaja-Szewczak, Stephen Davis, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, Wodzimierz Godlewski, Wilfred C. Griggs, Peter Grossman, Alexi Krol, Suzana Hodak, Anetta Lyzwa-Piber, Ewa Parandowska, Siegfried G. Richter, Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Sofia Schaten, Zuzana Skalova, Jacques Van der Vliet, Youhanna Youssef....read more
1 August 2005
96 b/w illus.
Egypt’s Monastic Art and ArchitectureGawdat Gabra
With a historical introduction by Tim Vivian
Egypt, the birthplace of communal monasticism, has a rich store of monasteries and monastic art. Coptic Monasteries takes the reader on a tour of the best preserved and most significant of these ancient religious centers, documenting in exhaustive detail the richness and the glory of the Coptic heritage. An informative introduction by Tim Vivian brings to life the early Christian era, with background information on the origins of the Coptic Church as well as its rites and ceremonies, sketches of some of monasticism’s founding figures, and accounts of some of the difficulties they faced, from religious schism to nomadic attacks. Gawdat Gabra’s expert commentary, complemented by almost one hundred full-color photographs of newly restored wall paintings and architectural features, covers monasteries from Aswan to Wadi al-Natrun. Ranging across a thousand years of history, Gabra’s observations will make any reader an expert on the composition and content of some of Egypt’s most outstanding religious art, the salient architectural features of each monastery, as well as the ongoing process of restoration that has returned much of their original vibrancy to these works. A unique and invaluable historical record, Coptic Monasteries is equally an in-depth, on-the-spot guide to these living monuments or an armchair trip back in time to the roots of one of the world’s oldest Christian traditions....read more
15 October 2010
96 color illus.
The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and Mosque
Edited by Carolyn Ludwig Morris Jackson Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and MosqueEdited by Carolyn Ludwig
Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
Just to the south of modern Cairo stands the historic enclave known as Old Cairo, which grew up in and around the Roman fortress of Babylon, and which today hosts a unique collection of monuments that attest to the shared cultural heritage of ancient Egyptians, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In this lavishly illustrated celebration of a very special place, renowned photographer Sherif Sonbol’s remarkable images of the fortress, churches, synagogue, and mosque illuminate the living fabric of the ancient and medieval stones, while the text describes the history of Old Cairo from the time of the ancient Egyptians and the Romans to the founding of the first Muslim city of al-Fustat, focusing on the Jewish history of the area (exploring the famous Genizah documents found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue that tell so much about everyday life in medieval Egypt), the early Coptic Christian churches, some of the oldest in the world, and the arrival of the Muslims in the seventh century, their establishment of al-Fustat on the edge of Old Cairo, and the building of the oldest mosque in Africa....read more
29 April 2013
370 color illus.
Creswell Photographs Re-examined
New Perspectives on Islamic Architecture
Edited by Bernard O’Kane
New Perspectives on Islamic ArchitectureEdited by Bernard O’Kane
The Creswell photographic archive at the American University in Cairo is an invaluable resource of over 12,000 printed images of Islamic architecture, mainly in Cairo, but also including buildings in other important cities such as Córdoba and Baghdad. Creswell’s own photographs constitute the majority of the collection, but he also assembled work by photographers active in the decades before he began his systematic recording in the 1920s. This volume of collected studies seeks to highlight the value of this collection for scholars, who can examine the visual evidence of architecture now destroyed or altered in order to better understand various aspects of these significant buildings. Contributors discuss such issues as epigraphy in domestic and religious architecture, the use of early photographs as guides for modern restoration, and military architecture. Contributors: Tarek Galal Abdel-Hamid, Noha Abou-Khatwa, Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi, Dina Ishak Bakhoum, Nairy Hampikian, May al-Ibrashy, Hani Hamza, Chahinda Karim, Dina Montasser, Bernard O’Kane, Seif El-Rashidi, Ola Seif, Nicholas Warner....read more
1 July 2009
125 illus. incl. 25 color
Early Persian Painting
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th CenturyBernard O’Kane
Kalila wa Dimna (or The Fables of Bidpai) is one of the gems of world culture, having been translated through the centuries everywhere from China to Spain. The stories of Kalila wa Dimna, like the Fables of Aesop or Lafontaine, are subtle and suggestive moral tales—a kind of repository of wisdom and understanding about the human condition. It was the most commonly illustrated medieval Islamic text. This book focuses on the group of seven Persian manuscripts from the second half of the fourteenth century, which contain several of the finest masterpieces of Persian painting. It is a work of enormous erudition and scholarly importance, a huge contribution for art historians and students interested in Persian painting and early Islamic art. In a world now besotted with images, these superb early paintings can give us a glimpse of the power and delight that they must have given their original viewers, and help explain the work’s attractiveness throughout the ages. “These pages will remain forever as a basic tool for all further work on this particular text and as a model for the study of illustrated manuscripts in general”—Oleg Grabar, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton...read more
50 b/w, 91 color illus.
His Lost City and Great Mosque
His Lost City and Great MosqueTarek Swelim
Ahmad Ibn Tulun (835–84), the son of a Turkic slave in the Abbasid court of Baghdad, became the founder of the first independent state in Egypt since antiquity, and builder of Egypt’s short-lived third capital of the Islamic era, al-Qata’i‘ and its great congregational mosque. After recounting the story of Ibn Tulun and his successors, architectural historian Tarek Swelim presents a topographic survey of al-Qata’i‘, a city lost since its complete destruction in 905. He then provides a detailed architectural analysis of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, which was spared the destruction and is now the oldest surviving mosque in Egypt and Africa, from the time of its completion until today. Rare archival illustrations and early photographs document the changing appearance and uses of the mosque in modern times, while extraordinary 3D computer renderings take us back in time to recreate its architectural development through its early centuries. Plans, drawings, and maps complement the history, while striking modern color photographs showcase the elegant simplicity of the building’s architecture and decoration. This definitive and generously illustrated book will appeal to scholars and students of Islamic art history, as well as to anyone interested in or inspired by the beauty of early mosque architecture....read more
13 December 2015
120 illus., including color photos, computer drawings, archival prints