Author Topic: Coptic iconography - symbolism of colours  (Read 1455 times)

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Offline Sleepyhead

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Coptic iconography - symbolism of colours
« on: January 13, 2011, 04:52:53 PM »
Hello OO posters!

I hope I have posted this in the right section. If not, moderators please move me to the right one.

My question pertains to Coptic iconography: I have noticed that in Coptic icons, both older frescoes (such as the Pantocrator at St. Anthony's Monastery in Egypt) and newer icons of Christ (in the neo-Coptic style) white often seems to be used for His inner robe and red for the outer one, whereas the EO iconographic tradition uses blue and red.

So, my question to you is: what exactly do these colours symbolise and for what reason do the OO's and EO's use different colours for what (please correct me if I am wrong) seems to be the same symbolism (divinity and humanity)?

(Edited for clarity)

I hope I haven't confused you too much. All answers are greatly appreciated. :]

Sleepyhead
« Last Edit: January 13, 2011, 05:12:22 PM by Sleepyhead »

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coptic iconography - symbolism of colours
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2011, 05:58:20 PM »
Hello OO posters!

I hope I have posted this in the right section. If not, moderators please move me to the right one.

My question pertains to Coptic iconography: I have noticed that in Coptic icons, both older frescoes (such as the Pantocrator at St. Anthony's Monastery in Egypt) and newer icons of Christ (in the neo-Coptic style) white often seems to be used for His inner robe and red for the outer one, whereas the EO iconographic tradition uses blue and red.

So, my question to you is: what exactly do these colours symbolise and for what reason do the OO's and EO's use different colours for what (please correct me if I am wrong) seems to be the same symbolism (divinity and humanity)?

(Edited for clarity)

I hope I haven't confused you too much. All answers are greatly appreciated. :]

Sleepyhead
Many (most?) icons of Christ post resurrection, He wears the same colors as the Coptic iconography.
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Offline Sleepyhead

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Re: Coptic iconography - symbolism of colours
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 06:01:25 PM »
Thank you! it seems I might just be iconographically confused in general.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Coptic iconography - symbolism of colours
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 07:45:45 PM »
I'm not 100% sure, but I've been taught that Copts have used the red date of September to symbolize the Coptic New Year, red on the outside for the blood of martyrs and white on the inside for the purity of faith.

So perhaps, red could be a suffering that's coated around purity.  But I'm not entirely too sure.
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Offline Sleepyhead

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Re: Coptic iconography - symbolism of colours
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 07:43:18 AM »
That's interesting. Thank you, minasoliman!  :)