Mosaic Fragment with Peacock Facing Right

Object Details

Title:

Mosaic Fragment with Peacock Facing Right

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place:

Syria (Place created)

Date:

5th–6th century

Medium:

Mosaic

Object Number:

75.AH.122

Dimensions:

166.4 × 129.5 × 7.6 cm (65 1/2 × 51 × 3 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of William Wahler

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A peacock facing right decorates this mosaic fragment. The body is rendered in blue, beige, white and yellow with a black outline. The long multicolored tail has a red feathery border and a pink background with lines of yellow tesserae indicating the feathers. The feather eyespots are rendered as compressed circles with a black outline and filled with blue, yellow, and white. It is in very good condition with the details of the bird's feathers clearly visible. Long vines surround the bird, and two bunches of grapes in the lower left and right corners are partially preserved.

Originally part of a larger mosaic decorating the floor of a church in ancient Syria, this peacock would have faced a second bird (see also 75.AH.121) on either side of an image of a tree or wine vessel (traditionally an amphora or a kantharos). Long vines with grape clusters wind across the surface and surround each bird. In early Christian art and literature, peacocks were associated with immortality and considered among the most spectacular creatures on earth.

Provenance
-

Joel Malter (Los Angeles, California)

- 1975

William Wahler (San Francisco, California), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975.

Exhibitions
Roman Mosaics across the Empire (March 30, 2016 to January 8, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), March 30, 2016 to January 8, 2018
Bibliography