Mosaic Menagerie

Ventured out to catch the “Marvelous Menagerie: An Ancient Roman Mosaic From Lod Israel” exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art before it leaves town.  This large and stunning mosaic was unearthed during a road expansion project in Lod, Israel in 1996.  It is believed to have been created around 300 AD.  It was reburied until funds were secured to properly preserve it, which happened in 2009.  After its U.S. tour (exhibitions at 5 museums), the mosaic will be put on permanent display back in Israel, so I really wanted to make sure I saw it while I could.

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It was wonderful.  And very macho.

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The mosaic teems with all sorts of exotic animals- many of them either being devoured or, conversely, hunting their prey.

CAMmosaic 014I had fun trying to imagine the sort of Ancient Roman semi-psychopathic tycoon who would have commissioned this for the floor of his villa!  (In a very Stewie Griffin-esque voice)  “Yes, well, that’s nice, but how about some more blood, some more images of domination, let’s add some more of that, shall we?”

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“There we are, that’s the stuff.”

All kidding aside, the mosaic was very impressive.  There was so much movement and vitality.  The level of detail was incredible.  And there’s something so tactile about a mosaic, you can’t help but imagine the hands that worked on creating it, the feet that walked across it.  When they were removing the mosaic to preserve it, they found foot and hand prints from the ancient craftsmen who created it in the bedding layer underneath the tesserae.  It didn’t photograph well, but there was a chunk of this bedding stuff with a footprint on it displayed as well.  Shivers.   Just too cool.

Also cool?   I liked seeing all of the different kinds of fishes that were depicted as well as the stylized undulations of the geometric borders.

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CAMmosaic 013To learn more, check here:   http://www.lodmosaic.org/home. If you get a chance, I highly recommend stopping by the Columbus Museum of Art to see this treasure.  Hurry, the exhibit ends 1/13/2013!

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