Thursday, April 27, 2017

Roman Mosaics of Tunisia

Tunisia. Roman civilisation. Mosaics dated from 2nd century AD to 4th century AD.

1. Bulla Regia. Detail. The produce of the sea: brightly coloured fishes, shells and shell-fish which were even brighter when fountain waters played over them. 4th century AD.

2. Bulla Regia. Detail. Love riding a dolphin carrying a jewel-case to Venus. Undisplaced.  4th century AD.

3. Sousse: Against the background of a geometric mosaic, a rush basket is depicted on its side and pouring out fish across the floor - a cornucopia of the abundant produce of the sea. Sousse Museum. 3rd century AD. 

4. A small panel depicting a long-legged wading-bird. Sfax Museum (unknown provenance).

5. A small mosaic depicting a cane basket containing grapes at which two birds are pecking. Sousse Museum (unknown provenance).

6. Moknine. Threshold of a house, decorated with prophylactic symbols. The eye of the envious, the caster of spells, is being attaked by snakes and by a fish - the beneficent and watchful guardians of the house against "evil eye". Sousse Museum.

7. Sousse Region. Medusa head. The pavement design consists of radiating scales in the middle of which is a Medusa head; we are reminded of the Aegis, Athene's invisible shield. Two little wings spring from Medusa's forehead and her face is surrounded by thick hair from which rise hissing snakes. Those who looked at her were turned to stone. Sousse Museum. 2nd-3rd century AD.

8. El Jem. A semi-circular painting which had been used as flooring for an apse. A geometric composition made of triangles rising towards the periphery across a net of intersecting curves. El Jem Museum.

9. Gafsa. Race in the circus - Quadriga driver (Detail of a large scene). Bardo Museum. 3rd century AD.

10. El Jem. Venus is coming up out of the water and is wringing out her wet hair. Two attendant cherubs hold for her the things she will be needing, such as a mirror and hair bands.

11. La Chebba. A ludicrous scene which belongs to the repertoire of Bacchic cults. Old, fat and drunk Silenus rides on the back of a donkey which a satyr and a faun are teasing. These figures usually accompany bacchus. Sfax Museum.

12. Oudna. Interwined floral motifs. The vertical stems of millet rise from vases and from a group of acanthus leaves; round these twine vines loaded with bunches of grapes. Bardo Museum. 3rd century AD.

13. Uzitta. Peacock feathers arranged to form a geometric pattern. Sousse Museum. 4th century A.D.