A Roman marble mosaic panel with a representation of the Euphrates

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Lot 134TP
A Roman marble mosaic panel with a representation of the Euphrates

Sold for £ 27,562 (US$ 35,859) inc. premium

Antiquities

28 Nov 2019, 10:30 GMT

London, New Bond Street

A Roman marble mosaic panel with a representation of the Euphrates
Circa 2nd Century A.D.
The square panel with a bust of the personified river Euphrates, named in the upper corners, set against a cream ground, the broad-shouldered river god wearing a cream tunic and grey mantle with a gold torque around his neck, heavily bearded and with his head turned to the left, a wreath of reeds in his long hair and a reddish-pink flat-topped headdress, possibly representing a modius, set within multiple geometric borders, the main border with a large bead and reel motif in the centre of each side between guilloche bands, with crowstep outer border, 155.5cm x 155cm; 162cm x 162cm inc. frame

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection, US, acquired in the early 1980s.

    Mosaic representations of river gods were produced throughout the Roman Empire. A 1st-2nd Century A.D. mosaic of a full seated representation of the Euphrates was found at Zeugma, a Roman settlement and bridge on the banks of the Euphrates, which is famed for its water themed mosaics. Another discovery from this site is a colourful mosaic with a portrait head of Euphrates, showing him adorned with reeds and flowers, which is now in the Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology. Such river gods are typically represented wearing long angular wreaths of reeds or weed crowns. Other representations of fluvial gods include the Spartan river deity Eurotas, found in mosaics from Paphos and Antioch.

    Mosaics of river gods such as the above lot were often part of a larger scheme including geographical personifications. Two corner roundels of busts of river personifications survive in a mosaic pavement from the dining room of the House of Cilicia at Seleucia-on-Tigris. They show personifications of the Tigris (now in Detroit Institute of Arts, acc. no. 40.127) and the river Pyramos (Smith College Museum of Art, acc. no. 1938.14) that are identified by their inscriptions. Janet Huskinson has suggested that the non-surviving roundels in the remaining corners of the pavement may have represented the Orontes and Euphrates (Mosaic, vol. 29, 2002, p. 21–23). The central part of the floor mosaic also included a figure personifying the geographical province of Cilicia. It is suggested that the complete floor may have represented the personification of the four eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, with personifications of their four main rivers in each corner, each identified by name in Greek.
Contacts
A Roman marble mosaic panel with a representation of the Euphrates
A Roman marble mosaic panel with a representation of the Euphrates
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