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 March 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 May 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 December 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 byTim 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.
Hassan Fathy and Continuity in Islamic Arts and Architecture
The Birth of a New Modern
The Birth of a New ModernAhmad Hamid
Hassan Fathy, the Egyptian architect known for his recognition of the potential of vernacular forms as a vital force in contemporary architectural design, sought to integrate the traditions of Islamic art with his modern visions for living. Guided by Fathy’s principles, Ahmad Hamid, an architect who collaborated with Hassan Fathy in the Institute for Appropriate Technology, identifies questions about the nature of Islamic art and its building culture, as well as the origins of modern architecture. This richly illustrated book provides new insights into Hassan Fathy’s profuse, pathbreaking design documents and built projects, while exploring the socioeconomic, environmental, psychological, and esthetic components of Fathy’s work in the light of a quest for a new universal modernity for the twenty-first century....read more
15 December 2010
100 b/w photographs and drawings
Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage
Ann Parker Avon Neal
Folk Art of the Great PilgrimageAnn Parker
Since the seventh century, the Hajj, or Great Pilgrimage to Mecca, has been a lifelong goal of devout Muslims throughout the world. Egyptian pilgrims traditionally celebrate their sacred journey by commissioning a local artist to depict their religious odyssey on the walls of their homes. Hajj Paintings is the first visual record of the richness and variety of this naive art form. Photographer Ann Parker and writer Avon Neal spent a decade exploring towns, villages, and isolated farm communities along the Nile, across the Delta, down the Red Sea coast, and into Sinai. On the walls of buildings ranging from alabaster factories to mud-brick farmhouses they found brilliant murals illuminated by the desert sun, portraying beloved icons of the pilgrims’ faith and scenes from the Qur’an. Their nearly 150 color photographs and accompanying descriptions record the radiant palette of the mostly self-taught artists....read more
1 March 2009
130 color illus.
Architecture for the Poor
An Experiment in Rural Egypt
An Experiment in Rural EgyptHassan Fathy
In this now classic work, Hassan Fathy, Egypt’s greatest twentieth-century architect, describes in detail his plan for building the village of New Gourna on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, employing both the traditional building material, mud brick, and such traditional Egyptian architectural features as enclosed courtyards and domed and vaulted roofing. Fathy worked closely with the people to tailor his designs to their needs; he taught them how to work with the mud bricks, supervised the erection of the buildings, and encouraged the revival of ancient techniques, such as the use of claustra (mud-brick latticework) to adorn the buildings. Although bureaucratic red tape and other problems prevented the completion of New Gourna, Fathy’s ideas have since commanded widespread attention both inside and outside Egypt, and Architecture for the Poor remains a testament to his vision as an architect of conscience. “Fathy demonstrates very powerfully that it is possible to build for the poor … cheaply and humanly by the use of earth for building and by teaching people to build for themselves. There is no other book quite like this.” —Choice...read more
132 b/w illus.
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.