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The ‘Inhabited Scrolls’ mosaic pavements— A sixth-century trend

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Chapter Summary

The inhabited scrolls appear frequently on mosaic pavements in Palaestina, Arabia, Syria, and Phoenicia mostly during the 6th century. The common characteristics of all these mosaics is an overall design of vines issuing out of an amphora or sometimes an acanthus leaf in the centre, flanked by birds or animals, or from amphorae or acanthus leaves in corners to form medallions inhabited with objects, animals, and human figures. Different basic compositional schemes exist: division into two parts, vertical and horizontal (group I); a central axial row with antithetical design (group II); a central focus (group III). Distinct differences occur between the inhabited scroll mosaics of groups I-III and IV and V. Although the inhabited scroll composition appears in Jewish and Christian art, it carries entirely different meanings, corresponding to the significance and form of the architectural building, the community needs, and the faith and the time it was designed for.

Keywords:Christian art; design of vines; Inhabited Scrolls; Jewish art; Mosaic Pavements; Sixth Century; Trend



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