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Coptic art adorns Cairo’s historic mosques

Coptic and Islamic art have long shared space in Egypt, where the decoration and architecture of mosques are vibrant examples of their mutual influence.
This picture taken on April 6, 2019 shows a view of a courtyard in the Coptic Orthodox "White Monastery" of St Shenouda (Schenute) the Archimandrite in Egypt's southern Sohag province, about 500 kilometres south of the capital Cairo. - Dating back to the second half of the 5th century AD, the monastery is named name for the colour of its white limestone outside walls. It is architecturally similar to the nearby "Red Monastery". (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/

CAIRO — Islamic art is not the product of one country or one people, writes Tharwat Okasha in his book, “The Encyclopedia of Islamic Photography.” Rather, it is the merger of the arts of several civilizations that flourished before Islam, including the Persian, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, due to the geographical expansion of the Islamic state. 

Mukhtar al-Kasbani, a professor of Islamic and Coptic antiquities at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor, “Religious tolerance in Egypt instilled harmony between religion and art. Egyptian rulers had focused on the competences and skills of artists or architects without discrimination based on religion. This prompted Muslim architects to learn the decorative features of Coptic art. They subsequently developed these stylistic features and gave them an Islamic identity, turning them into what became known as Islamic art.” 

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