If you only had time to do one thing in Pompeii- Part I

I would recommend you visit the House of the Faun.

The House of the Faun is a very large and impressive house in Pompeii. It was so large that it stretched over an entire insula (that’s the distance between two streets where normally a large number of tenements would be present. So obviously the House of the Faun was the residence of someone with considerable power and prestige- the architectural details inside the house go to reinforce this message of power and prestige

Entrance to the House of Faun
Entrance to the House of Faun

If you look right at the bottom of that horrible washed out picture you will see the word HAVE- which symbolised ‘Welcome’. This was the main entrance to the House of the Faun. The house got its name from the statue of a Faun that was found in the impluvium- the basin for collecting rainwater in the house.

Statue of Faun- Duplicate
Statue of Faun- Duplicate

What the House of Faun is also famous for is the range of beautiful mosaics that were found inside. This mosaic work (now in the Naples museum) once separated the entrance from the atrium. Isn’t it stunning- this is a depiction of a mask!

Tragic Mask Mosaic
Tragic Mask Mosaic

In the wings of the room that extended on either side could be found more mosaics- one of a bunch of doves pulling out strings of pearls (how exotic!) and the other of a composite scene of a cat with a partridge and ducks and fish.

Doves pulling out strings of pearls
Doves pulling out strings of pearls
And a Partridge in  a Pear Tree- NOT!
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree- NOT!

Just looking at these mosaics now impresses us, can we imagine how awe inspiring the original house would have been- in its size and majesty? Surely a building where any visitor would feel a bit overwhelmed and on the defensive.

The thing that this house is best known for is also a mosaic- a very famous mosaic piece- the likes of which has never been seen anywhere else, but I’ll write about it in my next post so that you can enjoy these images today.

(And apologies for the washed out images- it really was a very bright sunny day at Pompeii)

 

 

 

 

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