The oldestknown Coptic icon was found in Bawit in Middle Egypt in 1900 by the French archaeologist Jean Clédat (1871 – 1943) who discovered the large Coptic Monastery of St. Apollo that once stood there. It was gifted by the Egyptian government to France as part of the policy of dividing archaeological finds in 1901-1902, and is kept at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
This most beautiful icon is painting on sycamore fig wood and measures 57 cm in height and 57 cm in width (it is 2 cm in thickness). It is the oldest Coptic icon known to us: although the Louvre dates to the 8th century, that is after the Arab occupation, both Klaus Wessel and Pierre Du Bourguet give an earlier date: the second half of the 6th century and 6th-7th centuries, respectively. It depicts Christ and Abbot…
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