Document Type : Original Article


1 Head of the temporary exhibitions department in the Coptic Museum, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Cairo, Egypt

2 Coptic Paintings Conservation Department, Monasteries and Churches in Haret Zuwaila, Cairo, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt


The Copts inherited a lot from their ancient Egyptian ancestors, which led to the preservation 
of the ancient Egyptian identity, and the most important example of that is Coptic art, which 
had ancient Egyptian roots that stemmed from the cultural and artistic heritage, which is a 
reflection of the ancient Egyptian with his thoughts and beliefs. Artistic symbolism was the 
appropriate language to express those beliefs. And the axis of inspiration for the ancient 
Egyptian faith, and this is what Coptic art inherited from its predecessor, ancient Egyptian art. 
Some of these symbols were used, but in line with the new religion that is far from paganism, 
but Coptic art resorted to using those symbols to facilitate understanding of the new religion. 
We also find in Byzantine art some of these influences by using these ancient Egyptian symbols 
and beliefs to express the new religion. Therefore, this research paper sheds light on some icons 
as an example of the use of ancient Egyptian symbols, but with a new thought that is in line with 
the Christian faith, and also shows the influence of ancient Egyptian art on icons.
This paper also highlights that the icons painters used the same materials that were commonly 
used in ancient Egypt such as inorganic pigments, binders, Sycamore wood, and linen. The icons 
were carried out by using the same tempera technique, where used by the ancient Egyptians and 
the Greco-Roman painters