Mosaics and Moraga

Mosaics somehow fascinate me more sometimes than paintings or sculptures. It probably is due to the fact that although appearing as one whole on a cursory inspection of the work of art, a mosaic is in fact made up of hundreds and sometimes thousands of tesserae- bits of glass, coloured stones and mirrors that are set on a bed (of sticky material).

The Romans were expert at mosaics (Aha! I hear you say- that’s just one reason I like it folks!)- the Alexander Mosaic excavated at Pompeii is just one of the examples of Roman skill in this art. And if the Romans had it then obviously it trickled down into a lot of other parts of the world as well- byzantium most notably. One of Guy Kay’s novels (or series of novels should I say)- The Sarantine Mosaic deals with a protagonist- a skilled mosaicist called Caius Crispus.

So it was without surprise that I fell in love with the mosaic tiled staircase at San Francisco (16th and Moraga) – executed as a community project. I guess this is pretty much a local secret as I do not really see it featuring in the top 10 SF to do lists. But the 163 steps are worth it- not just for the beauty of the steps themselves but also for the views that you get once you climb them all up.

163 steps of pure beauty!

I actually found a website for the community project which gives a lot of details about why the project was the executed, the inspiration and the people behind it. Truly inspirational! When people can come together to do good things.

Mosaic Moon

The entire mosaic traces a theme starting from the sea in the steps below leading upwards to the sky with the moon and finally the sun.

Scorching Sun

I have my friend to thank for – for having taken me to this wonderful place.  It is true that a person coming down the stairs may not even notice it (although that is a bit hard!)

Pieces coming together...

So the next time you head out to that  part of the world or if you happen to be one of those people who live in this beautiful place- go spend some time at the stairs and witness the beauty that people can bring together- a bit like the individual stones and glass themselves.

A signboard so you don't forget!
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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Stunning photos, I love your banner by the way

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you! My banner is a photography I took during my visit to the Himalayas- on the shores of Lake Pangong early in the morning!

  2. F. says:

    Beautiful and creative!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. Apar says:

    Ooh this mosaic looks beautiful! Wish I had known when I had been to that part of the world! Well, at least I got to see it through your eyes 🙂 How have you been?

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      I know- one of those well hidden treasures! I’m ok Aparna- how are you? Let’s catch up sometime! Miss discussing books and photography tips 🙂

  4. Nirmala says:

    Very beautiful and awesome!!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      thank you!

  5. Lav says:

    lovely – did we not see some mosaics in Bath too? I will jot this one down in my to do list in SFO

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Lets visit when I come to the USA next

  6. sanetes says:

    What an awesome staircase! You have captured it well.

    Overall I think art and crafts are underrated. We would be better people, if we made more staircases like these.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Indeed when a community comes together to create something as beautiful as that mosaic it can indeed help them in becoming better people

  7. brad says:

    beautiful staircase! I saw some terrific mosaics recently at the former King’s Palace in Luang Prabang – unfortunately cameras were not allowed inside … grrr!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Same place where you found the moon rock? Must add it to my list of things to do

  8. I’ve never heard of these mosaic staircases before. They are wonderous! You’ve photographed them beautifully and I agree, inspirational!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you very much!

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