Peacock Mosaics

On my recent trip to Tunisia I had the chance to see some spectacular mosaics from the ancient Roman North African period. Some of these mosaics were nothing less than coloured stone carpets.

The depiction of flora and fauna was a predominant theme in these mosaics and I was drawn to the the intricate detailing of birds and animals. It’s mind boggling to think about the painstaking work that must have gone behind putting together some of these mosaics.

The peacock is a magnificent bird and so it followed that the mosaic depictions of these birds also tended to be quite eye-catching. I’m presenting a few of these that I came across.

Peacock and leaves- Bardo Museum
Peacock and leaves- Bardo Museum

The peacock was part of a larger mosaic on display at Bardo museum. You can clearly see how many small coloured stones have to be placed in the right position to bring out the right contrast and visual effect. Cannot have been an easy thing to do.

A close up of the Peacock feather
A close up of the Peacock feather
Peacock from Villa Laberii- Oudhna
Peacock from Villa Laberii- Oudhna

Although executed in a much simpler fashion than the other peacock, this bird at the ruins of the Villa Laberii at Oudhna (or Uthina) is also quite impressive.

El Djem Destroyed peacock
Peacock Destroyed at El Djem Museum

We unfortunately lose countless works of art to the vagaries of time and the mosaic above is no exception. However, you can still get a sense of the grandeur of the peacock.

Peacock feather close up
Close up of the feather

This is a close up of one feather of the mosaic panel that is my cover photo. Simple and yet so elegant. I would love to have this design on a stained glass window or as an applique on a plain white dress.

What do you think of ancient Roman North African mosaics?


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    I am always fascinated with mosaics, and these with the peacocks, and ancientness, are stunning. This post was a pleasure, thank you.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you- the mosaics in Tunisia were spectacular. I believe other North African mosaics are equally spectacular

  2. Lav says:

    Mesmerizing details!

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      I know right?

  3. Nice article. As a mosaic artist I too remain fascinated by mosaics- the fact that they can survive through the ages makes them quite unique as an art form. Ravenna in Italy is another spot well worth visiting, Check out my blog on mosaics

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you Sarah, Ravenna has been on my must visit list for about 12 years now- I’ve been wanting to go to St Vitale and check out the mosaics depicting Justinian and Theodora. Someday hopefully

  4. museorigins says:

    Would love to see these in real life

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      I hope you get to- there are good Roman mosaics on display at most of the world’s major museums but the ones in Tunisia are just spectacular

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