CAIRO – 30 June 2022: The Coptic museum houses a magnificent piece that dates back to the fourth or fifth century AD. It is a curtain made of linen and wool, and depicts a flutist.
To the left of the curtain, there is a vertical panel decorated with warriors and dancers, and in the middle there are knights made of Coptic fabric of linen and wool.
The Copts were famous for their weaving skills and they exported their products to the Mediterranean countries. The textiles were mainly made of linen, and the entire surface would be decorated with dyed woolen threads. One of the best examples of Coptic tapestry is part of a curtain, decorated with a dark-skinned figure, alongside figures of dancers, warriors, and men on horseback.
The Coptic Museum is one of the oldest and most important Egyptian museums. It houses the largest and most important collection of Coptic artifacts in the world, with about 16,000 pieces.
The museum was inaugurated in 1910 by Morcos Samika Pasha, who is considered one of the prominent Christian figures in Egypt. Samika was interested in preserving the Coptic heritage.
The construction of the museum began in 1908 at the hands of Morcos Samika Pasha (1944-1864), the first director of an Egyptian museum, and with the support of the Coptic Church represented by Pope Kyrollos V, Patriarch No. 211. The museum was officially opened on March 14, 1910.
The museum is located in Misr Al-Qadmia district (the Complex of Religions), within the walls of the Roman fortress of Babylon, surrounded by a group of the oldest and most important churches in Egypt, most notably the Church of the Virgin Mary, the Hanging Church, and Abu Serga Church. This is in addition to the oldest synagogue (Ben Ezra), which dates back to the ninth century. A few minutes' walk from the museum is Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque.
The museum’s collection of antiquities showcases Coptic history from its early beginnings in Egypt and during its prosperity.
The origins of Coptic Christianity in Egypt go back to the visit of Saint Mark to the city of Alexandria in the first century.
The antiquities displayed in the museum depict the blending of Coptic art with the prevailing cultures, including the Pharaonic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures, and the evolution of its own identity.
The museum's large collection contains exquisitely illuminated manuscripts, icons, finely carved woodwork, and elaborate frescoes decorated with religious scenes, which survived from ancient monasteries and churches.