Tip o’ the pileus to Richard Campbell for pointing this one out … Sands of Time is one of those online art dealers who regularly sell ancient items and currently they’re offering a very interesting little mosaic which is labelled as first century A.D. and “possibly” coming from Volubilis. So far, nothing overly surprising or exciting … as described, though, the mosaic was once owned by astronaut Alan Bean, who was given the mosaic by the king of Morocco back in 1969. The description has some words from Bean:
“In November of 1969, I became the 4th human to walk on the moon as the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 12. After the flight, Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and I along with our wives were invited to spend the night at The White House by President and Mrs. Nixon.
In the evening, after dinner, The President asked us to visit the leadership of 21 countries around the world, as his direct personal representatives, to relate the story of our moon landing mission. To facilitate this Assignment we would use an Air Force One with two complete flight crews and a number of State Department coordinators. As representatives of The President of the United States we were treated with much celebration and respect everywhere we went.
In Morocco, King Hussan II presented me and my wife Sue with, among many other gifts, a handsome Byzantine Mosaic Panel with an image of a short-legged bird, possibly a Duck. I later learned that the Duck is a symbol of Vigilance and Watchfulness in early Christian Art…”
Photos of the piece at Sands of Time …