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  • 1 Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1014 Budapest, Úri utca 49.
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Josef Strzygowski was invited to write the catalogue of the Coptic collection of Cairo's Egyptian Museum in 1900. His work appeared in 1904. Coptic art was for him an opposite of Machtkunst, a ‘national’ art, the art of a nation conquered, suppressed and exploited by a ruling class of foreigners. When cataloguing the Coptic collection in Cairo, Strzygowski could not fail to realise the domineering presence of types of architectural carvings that were also present in other regions of the Late Antique and Byzantine Mediterran. Instead of trying to establish a chronology and a qualitative hierarchy of the objects and to investigate their stylistic connections, he avoided the problem of the relationship between the high art of the Late Antique and Early Byzantine Mediterranean and what he considered Coptic national art.