Franz Joseph Dölger-Institut

zur Erforschung der Spätantike

Die Stele der Tbekka. Ein spätantikes Grabrelief aus Latopolis (Isna) im Lindenau-Museum Altenburg (mit Tafeln 26/31)

JbAC 62 (2019) Seiten: 219-233

The funerary stela inscribed in the name of Tbekka was donated to the Lindenau- Museum Altenburg in April 2018. This study intends to thoroughly examine and categorise the object for the first time. Indeed, as a result one can see that the small relief turns out to be a typical example of the art of limestone carving found at the end of Late Antiquity in Upper Egypt. It represents the decorated gravestones of Latopolis (Isn¯a) from the period between ca. 575/650 AD. The compositional elements reveal the phase of cultural transition, as traditional and innovative concepts intertwine. The iconography of the funerary eagle inside an architectural frame remains firmly established as in origin from Late Antiquity. A reference group for the stylised decorative patterns is the local production of Oxyrhynchos (al-Bahnas¯a). The bilingual funerary inscription indicates in its Coptic wording – particularly the Greek-Coptic version of the EŸc jeÏc formula –, a transformation of Greek culture on the threshold of the early Middle Ages. The relief was intended for the sepulchral representation and in the memory of a Christian female of unknown age, perhaps within the interior of a tetrapylon mausoleum in the Thebais. In Europe, knowledge of its provenance became increasingly obscured from the early 20th century on during the course of trade and transmission.

Kirsten Krumeich