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Iconoclasm on mosaic pavements of synagogues and churches

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Chapter Summary

The terms iconoclasm and the iconophobic or iconoclasm crisis refer to the systematic destruction of images of living creatures, human or animal, from the decorative repertoire. Iconoclasm was expressed in deliberate damage to figurative motifs on a number of synagogue and church mosaics in Palaestina and Arabia. The damaged figures included isolated animals and birds in geometric compositions. Several synagogue pavements suffered from iconoclasm probably in the mid- or late 6th century. The main issues regarding the iconoclastic crisis are where, who, why, and when these activities were performed. The chapter discusses the various responses for the main issues. Iconoclasm on mosaic pavements of synagogues and churches shows different tendencies, although the damage might have been generated in different periods and instigated by a change of attitude to figurative art by members of the clergy or by a local community.

Keywords:churches; iconoclasm; mosaic pavements; synagogues



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