History Of Country Region
Marble was highly prized, but it did not occur in Egypt and had to be imported by sea. Importation of finished works from Constantinople seems to have been relatively rare; rather, rough imported forms were finished or decorated in or near Alexandria, and sent inland from there. Among the evidence of this extensive output are the many hundreds of 4th-6th-c. pedestals, bases, column shafts and capitals that were later reused in Islamic buildings. On the whole, it seems that the largest series of marble manufactures were used exclusively in the coastal zone e.g., Abu Mina and in the big cities. Tampa/St. Petersburg Map The material most used in the Egyptian interior was limestone, sometimes sandstone, available in many parts of the Nile valley; the vast local output of Egyptian sculpture, usually called Coptic sculpture, was worked in these rocky places. Stucco was employed partly for pieces intended for particular structures e.g., keystones of domes and for the detailed decoration of schematically roughed-out sandstone blocks e.g., the cornice of the transept basilica of Ashm»nein; great stucco capitals like the imperial-era works in Tuna al-Gabal seem to have been very rare in Late Antiquity an outstanding unique example in Wadi n-Natrun.
The preservation, unusually abundant, of wooden sculptures is due to the favorable climatic conditions of Middle and Upper Egypt. c. Typology. Nearly all surviving stone sculptures and many of those in wood were made for insertion into architectural complexes, and so we must count the following among architectural sculptures: in stone architraves, jambs, lunettes, tympana, niche decorations, pedestals and bases, decorated columns and pillars, capitals of various kinds, cornices and friezes, cancelli, windows, and nearly all the groups of funerary reliefs; in wood doors, balustrades and grilles, trusses and crossbeams, cornices and friezes, decorations. Used for furnishing rooms were, among other things, vase-stands in decorated stone, decorated wooden furniture, chests and various wooden objects.
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