Frontier Wanderings. Church Decoration in the Aswan Region and in Lower Nubia (6th-15th centuries).

A case study in cultural and religious influence and exchange across a porous border in late-antique and medieval times.

The project studies the painted decoration in churches and monastic buildings in the southern part of Egypt and in Nobadia (Lower Nubia).

Up till now, investigations on wall paintings in churches and monasteries in both Nobadia and in Egypt have been conducted from the perspective of either the Egyptian Christian tradition or the Nubian Christian tradition. In a frontier zone such as Aswan and Nobadia, where movement of people, goods, ideas, and ideologies was for ages part of everyday life, such a one-sided outlook clouds the image.

We take a look at this region from two angles, from both traditions. This is essential for understanding the cultural processes that have led to the creation of unique and distinctive programmes of church decoration in Nobadia and have introduced elements in the Aswan area that cannot be explained from a purely Egyptian point of view.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 665778; National Science Centre Poland, POLONEZ 3 2016/23/P/HS3/04153.


Watercolour: Edward Lear, Faras Westbank 1867 (Public Domain: Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Donald C. Gallup, Yale BA 1934, PhD 1939).