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Large Roman Stone Mosaic with Quilted Squares

Roman, the Levant, late Imperial Period, ca. 3rd to 5th century CE. A mesmerizing stone mosaic with hundreds if not thousands of square stone tesserae arranged in a quilted pattern with diamond forms in three color schemes: GOLDEN comprised of yellow ochre, cream, red, and black tesserae; CRIMSON comprised of rose, blush red, black, and grey tesserae; and SLATE GREY comprised of dove grey, black, and white tesserae. Size: mosaic measures 47.5" W x 49" H (120.6 cm x 124.5 cm); 49.125" W x 50.875" H (124.8 cm x 129.2 cm) with matrix and metal frame

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 to fit the theme of a building or room.

Condition: Expected wear with chips, recessions, and abrasions to tesserae commensurate with age. Scattered earth deposits. Set in a modern plaster matrix with a metal frame. Some hairline fissures in the plaster matrix as shown.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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