Roman, the Levant, late Imperial Period, ca. 4th century CE. A large stunning circular mosaic comprised of thousands of square tesserae in golden ochre, white, beige, vermilion, brick red, sage green, black, and white hues. A crow step golden yellow ocher/creamy beige outer border encircles numerous circular bands (most liner, some jagged) - from exterior to interior: white, black, brick red and vermilion, white, yellow ochre and sage green, black, white, black, golden yellow ochre, white, and black. The center features a stylized geometric design of brick red, vermilion , sage green, yellow ochre, black, and white hues. Size: 39.75" in diameter x .875" H (101 cm x 2.2 cm)
Mosaics (opus tesellatum) are some of our most enduring images from the Roman world, exciting not only for their aesthetic beauty, but also because they reveal what Romans chose to depict and see every day decorating their private and public spaces. This example is abstract in its intention and presents the ancients' keen eye for design. In the Roman province of Syria, which encompassed most of the ancient Near East/Levant, mosaics developed as a popular art form relatively late, with most finds coming from the 3rd century CE or later. Syria was one of Rome's wealthiest provinces, but it was also far removed from Rome itself and Roman culture was overlaid on enduring cultural traditions from Hellenistic Greece and the great civilizations that came before it. Antioch-on-the-Orontes (modern day Antakya, Turkey), was the capital of northern Roman Syria, and its excavations in the 1930s revealed more than three hundred mosaic pavements - of which many embellished public baths. Popular mosaic themes from this region were often mythological or religious scenes, depicting gods and goddesses; however, sometimes mosaics were created with abstract geometric motifs like this example.
Provenance: private Dallas, Texas, USA collection
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Expected chips, cracks, and minor losses to tesserae. Set in a modern matrix with a red metal frame. Fissures and areas of surface loss to plaster matrix on verso, but mosaic is stable. Nice mineral deposits across areas of surface.