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The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is popular in Christian iconography. The motif is frequent in Coptic art, mainly on funerary stelae presenting the same kind of composition as above. A praying figure with two crosses or a stylized crux gemmata cross is usually shown between the columns. The motif of a dove is also known from wall painting; numerous representations of doves are known from murals in the hermitages at Esna in Upper Egypt and elsewhere.

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Preserved upper part of a rectangular funerary stela showing a stylized temple pediment, supported on two columns, the shafts and capitals decorated with acanthus leaves. A fan-shaped palmette fills the pediment and the sides are decorated on two columns, the shafts and capitals decorated with acanthus leaves. A fan-shaped palmette fills the pediment and the sides are decorated with a geometric motif resembling an astragalus. Doves were shown antithetically on the oblique beams of the pediment; the left one with a twig in its beak still survives. The space between the columns, now lost, probably had a circle filled with volute ornament.
The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is popular in Christian iconography. The motif is frequent in Coptic art, mainly on funerary stelae presenting the same kind of composition as above. A praying figure with two crosses or a stylized crux gemmata cross is usually shown between the columns. The motif of a dove is also known from wall painting; numerous representations of doves are known from murals in the hermitages at Esna in Upper Egypt and elsewhere.

Elaborated by Krzysztof Babraj (Archaeological Museum in Kraków), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, translated by Iwona Zych, © all rights reserved

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Funerary stela pediment

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