“COPTIC CHURCH, SIOOT, EGYPT” BY REV. A. J. FOSTER, 1872
The reader will find here a black and white lithograph of a drawing by Rev. A.J. Foster, an American Baptist priest, which he made in 1872, showing the inside of an Egyptian Coptic Church in Sioot (Asyut), Upper Egypt. The reader will also find the letterpress text description of the lithograph by the Reverend.
The lithograph and the letterpress are clear. Of historical significance is that the Reverend documents the costume of the Copts at that period of time in Egypt: Copts still wore black robes and turbans to distinguish them from the Muhammadans, and to single them out for discrimination and humiliation by Muslims. This is despite the fact that in 1856, the European Powers managed to impose on the Ottoman Empire, of which Egypt was one state, to theoretically treat Christians and Jews equally, by passing the Hamayouni Decree. The distinctive attire, known in Islamic Law as ghiyar, did not completely disappear in Egypt until the British arrived in Egypt in 1881, inaugurating a much civilised rule that lasted until 1952.