Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Church aisle mosaic
Kissufim, western Negev
578 CE
Stone and glass
H: 800; W: 260 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1977-416
Mosaic floors were among the most popular forms of artistic expression in churches of the Byzantine Period. However, since they were designed to be walked upon, they were not decorated with sacred figuers and motifs. Instead, they usually bore scenes of daily life that were common in the Hellenistic-Roman artistic tradition. This mosaic shows animals hunting and being hunted, as well as imaginary beasts. The Greek inscription, “the deeds of Alexander,” accompanies the image of a hunter mounted on a horse, who probably represents Alexander the Great.

The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005
Israeli, Yael, and Mevorach, David, Cradle of Christianity, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2000, English / Hebrew
Treasures of the Holy Land, Ancient Art from the Israel Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986
3x50@50: IMJ Collection Highlights, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2015

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir