Fragment of a Floor Mosaic with a Personification of Ktisis
500–550, with modern restoration
Marble and glass
59 1/2 x 78 5/8 x 1 in. (151.1 x 199.7 x 2.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Fletcher Fund, 1998; Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Dodge Fund, and Rogers Fund, 1999
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
The bejeweled woman, holding the measuring tool for the Roman foot, is identified by the restored Greek inscription as Ktisis, a figure personifying the act of generous donation or foundation. The man with a cornucopia, originally one of a pair flanking her, has the Greek inscription “good” by his head, half of a text that probably said, “good wishes.” The fragment, made of marble and glass tesserae (small pieces of colored material), is typical of the exceptional mosaics created throughout the Byzantine world in the 500s. The Metropolitan Museum, after acquiring the two figures independently, has restored them in accordance with a dealer’s photograph showing their original arrangement while in storage before separation.
Private Collection, Switzerland (1988) [1998.69]; [ Ward & Company Works of Art, New York (from 1997–sold 1998)] [1998.69]; Private Collection, Switzerland (from 1970s–1999) [1999.99]
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