The Depiction of “Proskynesis” Attitude as Intercessory Body Posture: An Application to Egyptian- Christian Art and Heritage
Intercession can be defined as “a prayer with, for and on behalf of another person, group or people or even the world, which is undertaken by an individual or group.” In Biblical accounts of prayer, diversified body postures were mentioned. For instance, Abraham fell upon his face before God. (Genesis 17:3, 17); Moses prayed with his hands outstretched (Exodus 9:27–29.); King Solomon knelt in prayer (I Kings 8:54.); and Jesus prayed looking up into heaven (Mark 6:41). Since Proskynesis is a body gesture that ranges from bowing down, kneeling with the head to the floor, or complete prostration in front of God, a ruler, or venerated humans, Coptic art has used it to express intercession seeking since the early 6th century A.D This act was . represented in different scenes and on a wide range of materials, such as the scene of Christ’s miracles, with Coptic saints (seeking their intercession), and with the Holy Virgin Mary. With reference to Coptic culture, the concept of intercession was expressed first in words, and then it was reflected in art, as can be seen in very early Coptic manuscripts from Nag Hammadi library dated to the (4th century A.D). In Coptic heritage, there is also a noticeable contemporary practice that could be of great relevance to intercession. This practice is called prostration, or metanias (bowing) “ المطانية
Hassan Ali, Zeinab Hanafy, "The Depiction of “Proskynesis” Attitude as Intercessory Body Posture: An Application to Egyptian- Christian Art and Heritage" (2021). Egyptology Unit: Exalted Spirits Conference, November 2021. 9.