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Plant Scroll Enclosing Grapes and an Animal

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The walls of both pagan and Christian tombs were decorated with friezes, usually composed of twined stems forming loops, which typically enclosed animals. The largest piece here, an unusually fine example, shows predators, possibly a boar and a hyena, chasing an antelope and perhaps a dog. These chases continued to the right, where traces of what may be a spotted leopard remain. Two plant loops on a smaller relief enclose fruits and a fanciful animal. Rather different are two parts of a frieze that featured naked women lounging in front of large plants. The figures have been repainted, but the bird held by one of them must depict the swan form in which the god Jupiter seduced Leda. Thus this frieze must have decorated a pagan monument.
MEDIUM Limestone
  • Possible Place Made: El Behnasa (Oxyrhynchus), Egypt
  • DATES 5th–6th century C.E.
    PERIOD Late Antique Period
    DIMENSIONS 7 × 17 11/16 × 7 1/4 in. (17.8 × 45 × 18.4 cm) 21 lb. (21 lb.)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Coptic. Plant Scroll Enclosing Grapes and an Animal, 5th–6th century C.E. Limestone, 7 × 17 11/16 × 7 1/4 in. (17.8 × 45 × 18.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 68.150.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 68.150.2_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 68.150.2_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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