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Roman Floor Mosaic Representing the Head of Mesdua

Quick Overview

Roman Floor Mosaic Representing the Head of Mesdua

Type -
Tesserae mosaic

Size -
49,5 x 48,5 in (125,7 x 123,2 cm)

Price -
Price on Request
Price Upon Request

Availability: In stock


Roman Floor Mosaic Representing the Head of Mesdua

Type -
Tesserae mosaic

Size -
49,5 x 48,5 in (125,7 x 123,2 cm)

Medium -
Tesserae stone

Year -
Circa 1st-2nd Century A.D.

Condition -
Intact, mounted on a light weight backing. Ready for hanging.

Certificate of Authenticity

About the piece

The expressive head of Medusa occupying the center of this lovely mosaic, although early Greek representations of Medusa emphasized her hideous and monstrous appearance, a human like head of Medusa first surfaced in Hellenistic art and flourished around the time this mosaic was created. The head reveals ten snakes escaping from Medusa's hair, it is framed by a circular wreath and four tendrils, one on each corner.

This mosaic excavated from the Eastern Roman empire most likely Antioch, that was an important trading caravan and caravan center, and was one of the four great metropolitan centers of the late classical world. One of Antioch's most luxurious suburbs, Daphine, was excavated in 1930, by American and French archeologists, who unearthed floor mosaics as large as thirty feet. Many of these mosaics are now housed in museum collections, such as the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington D.C., The Brooklyn Museum, The Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Princeton University Museum.

Floor mosaics were called lithastratum to distinguish them from the wall or vault mosaics, which were referred to as opus musivum. The tesserae (latin for cubes or dice), have been cut in a regular shape so as to fit into the gridal cubes, are the pieces that make up the mosaic surface. The main requisite of the material, aside from colors, was its natural resistance to wear. Stone and marble, and their natural colors, determined the color schemes of mosaics in Roman times (though later, glass was also used). Two or three layers of mortar served as the setting bed, which carried the tesserae facing up; the first layer resting on a thick foundation that prevented the settling of the mortar bed and the formation of cracks. The solidarity of the mosaics depends on its close-set texture.

cf: A closely similar floor mosaic depicting Medusa head and in a circular frame, from the villa of Dionysos, now in the Archeological Museum, Dion, Greece.

Ex- Early European private collection 1980's, with import documents to the U.S.

All of our items are guaranteed authentic and as described. We include a COA with each piece.

Additional Information


Aphrodite Ancient Art

We adhere to a strict code of ethics, and encourage responsible dealing in ancient art. All objects purchased by us have been legally acquired. If imported by us to the United States, we have done so according to U.S. and international regulations concerning the trade in antiquities. All antiquities offered for sale by us are unconditionally guaranteed genuine and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
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