Society Of American Mosaic Artists
by：Heng Xing 2020-07-31
Another zodiac mosaic decorated the floor of the Beit Alfa synagogue which was constructed during the reign of Justin I (518–27). It is regarded one of the most necessary mosaics found in Israel. Each of its three panels depicts a scene – the Holy Ark, the zodiac, and the story of the sacrifice of Isaac.
In the middle of the zodiac is Helios, the solar god, in his chariot. The four girls in the corners of the mosaic represent the four seasons. Under Roman and Byzantine influence the Jews also decorated their synagogues with classical floor mosaics.
The use of mosaic in Gelati attests to some Byzantine influence within the country and was an illustration of the imperial ambition of the Bagrationids. The mosaic coated church may compete in magnificence with the churches of Constantinople. Gelati is certainly one of few mosaic creations which survived in Georgia but fragments show that the early churches of Pitsunda and Tsromi have been additionally decorated with mosaic as well as different, lesser known sites. The destroyed sixth century mosaic floors in the Pitsunda Cathedral have been impressed by Roman prototypes.
Many interesting examples were discovered in Galilee and the Judean Desert. The apse mosaic of the Gelati Monastery is a rare example of mosaic use in Georgia. Began by king David IV and accomplished by his son Demetrius I of Georgia, the fragmentary panel depicts Theotokos flanked by two archangels.
In Tsromi the tesserae are nonetheless seen on the walls of the seventh-century church however solely faint traces trace at the authentic scheme. Its central figure was Christ standing and displaying a scroll with Georgian textual content. The craft has also been well-liked in early medieval Rus, inherited as part of the Byzantine tradition.
The largest continuous section survives beneath the western arcade of the courtyard, known as the 'Barada Panel' after the river Barada. It is thought that the mosque used to have the largest gold mosaic on the planet, at over four m2. In 1893 a fire damaged the mosque extensively, and many mosaics were lost, though some have been restored since.
The first great religious building of Islam, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which was built between 688–692, was embellished with glass mosaics both inside and out of doors, by craftsmen of the Byzantine tradition. The wealthy floral motifs follow Byzantine traditions, and are 'Islamic only within the sense that the vocabulary is syncretic and doesn't embody illustration of men or animals.' In 1936, a synagogue was excavated in Jericho which was named Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue after an inscription on its mosaic flooring ('Peace on Israel'). It seems to have been in use from the 5th to 8th centuries and contained a big mosaic on the ground with drawings of the Ark of the Covenant, the Menorah, a Shofar and a Lulav. Nearby in Naaran, there may be one other synagogue (discovered in 1918) from the sixth century that additionally has a mosaic floor.