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Greek Influence on Coptic Art
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Ivory (mostly from hippopotamus) was primarily used in Egypt to ornament pieces of furniture and utensils of personal daily life like small jewelry and cosmetic boxes. Ivory was engraved to create reliefs that were often painted with colors such as dark red, and light pink.

The tradition of carving ivory and using inlays was of long standing in Ancient Egypt. However, most of the ivory artifacts in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Museum date to the second century AD. The production of ivory objects continued well into the Islamic period, when small ivory artifacts were inlaid in wooden Arabesque artworks.

As for the scenes depicted, most of them are adapted from Greek mythology, such as gods or themes related to Greek and Egyptian cults. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was also frequently depicted, portrayed in the company of a dolphin or Eros. Occasionally she was depicted with a seashell, symbolizing her birth from the sea at the island of Cyprus. Nymphs are shown swimming or riding on top of a dolphin.

In the Coptic period, Isis suckling her child Horus or Harpocrates, bearing resemblance, in this aspect, to the iconography of the Virgin Mary suckling Jesus, were common in ivory work.

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