Mystery Mosaic

Last night I was lazily pondering the Cleveland Museum’s recent acquisition (and chatting with David Gill on twitter) and decided to poke around the Phoenix Ancient Art site — something I haven’t done in quite a while. While they do have a lot of interesting items that we will probably be mentioning in a later post, I was particularly struck by a couple of mosaic panels … the first is of an athlete:

click for the Phoenix Ancient Art page

Then there’s a theatre mask:

click for the Phoenix Ancient Art page

At the Swiss site of Phoenix Ancient Art one finds this satyr and maenad (although this particular picture comes from Artfinding, since I can’t seem to grab the original; clicking on it takes you to the Phoenix Art page):



What these three panels have in common is that they were all acquired from Asfar and Sarkis in the “early 1960s” (which might suggest a Syrian origin), but beyond that, the borders/frames around them all suggest they were all part of the same floor at some point and there are likely more. If so, it’s truly sad that they’ve been broken up and we can only imagine what the ‘program’ of the floor actually was … we have a theater mask and  a satyr and maenad, then someone identified as an athlete. Maybe the athlete is actually an actor? Sadly, when mosaics are broken up like this and we don’t know where they actually came from, we’ll never know …

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