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Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt$
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Gawdat Gabra and Hany Takla

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166631

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166631.001.0001

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Funerary Aspects in the Paintings from the Apollo Monastery at Bawit

Funerary Aspects in the Paintings from the Apollo Monastery at Bawit

(p.241) 22 Funerary Aspects in the Paintings from the Apollo Monastery at Bawit
Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt

Karel Innemée

American University in Cairo Press

The excavations at Bawit by Jean Clédat, Chassinat, Palanque, and Gaston Maspero in the beginning of the twentieth century were carried out according to the standards of those days, and the material published by the excavators is fragmentary and leaves many unanswered questions. One of these is the function of the buildings that have been called chapelles by Clédat and salles by Maspero. This chapter tries to shed light on this function based on the iconography of the mural paintings that have been found there. It suggests that these rooms most probably were the place for daily prayers and, in addition to this, had clear references to funerary architecture and its iconography. This fits the ideal of the monk to be “dead to the world” and the metaphor of the cell as a tomb. The cell of the monk, and especially its prayer room, has a number of connotations, but generally it is considered the place where the monk finds salvation.

Keywords:   Bawit, excavations, Jean Clédat, Chassinat, Palanque, Gaston Maspero, chapelles, salles, mural paintings, iconography

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