Birds and artisans of the Roman mosaics of Tunisia: species, symbolism and origins

Tidemann, Sonia (2009) Birds and artisans of the Roman mosaics of Tunisia: species, symbolism and origins. International Humanities Journal, 7 (6). pp. 141-156. ISSN 1447-9508

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Abstract: The mosaic pavements of Roman North Africa contain both African and Italian bird species, amongst others, but it was not possible to attribute pavements to mosaicists from either country on the basis of the avifauna depicted. Forty-one species of birds were recorded, the most commonly occurring being the Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus, Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara, Pheasant Phasianus colchicus and Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. Birds appear in a variety of ways: representing the seasons, game to be served to guests dining at a banquet, hunting including falconry and disguises, immortality and the gardens in paradise, myth, ritual as well as for decoration. Pavements containing birds spanned the first to the sixth centuries and have been found in twenty-nine locations in Tunisia. El Djem was the third century centre for birds in mosaics, shifting to Carthage and Thuburbo Majus in the fourth, then Tabarka in the fifth, with a notable decline in species diversity. The pavements preserve an ornithological treasure.

Item Type: Article
Field of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
Date Deposited: 04 May 2010 01:44
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2011 23:38

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