Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion? You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more

Audio Guide

Mosaic Panel with Preparations for a Feast, Marble, limestone, glass paste, North African (Carthage, Tunisia)
Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Africa & Byzantium

Hear experts illuminate northern Africa’s key role in the Roman and Byzantine worlds.

540. Welcome (Mosaic with Preparations for a Feast)

Andrea Myers Achi, Mary and Michael Jaharis Associate Curator of Byzantine Art


ANDREA ACHI: Welcome to this fantastic, groundbreaking exhibition, Africa & Byzantium. My name is Andrea Myers Achi, and I am the Mary and Michael Jaharis associate curator ofByzantine art. The exhibition builds upon a long legacy of Byzantine exhibitions at The Met, and it connects North Africa and the Byzantine world between the fourth to the fifteenth century. You’re going to see works from Tunisia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, spanning from mosaics, textiles, manuscripts, jewelry, and small daily life objects, as well.

NARRATOR: During this period, North Africa included some of the wealthiest, most highly educated, and cosmopolitan provinces of the late Roman and Byzantine Empire. This intricate floor mosaic fragment from the late second century once belonged to the grand dining room or reception hall of a Tunisian villa, about as large as The Met's Great Hall.

Take a closer look at this busy scene.

ACHI: These men are preparing a feast for a festival. The first person you see is holding a breadbasket, you see four loaves of bread. And under him is a man who's holding a wine carafe,and then someone's holding something on his shoulders, meat or something very heavy. You also see other aspects of food and different containers.

You’re looking at men from all over North Africa and the Byzantine world. They look different because the skin is different, the hair texture is different. But it’s important to know that all of these people were Roman, and the Roman world was very diverse.

NARRATOR: Routes, over land and water, connected remote Egyptian oases to the Nile Valley and crisscrossed North Africa. They were linked by trade across the Mediterranean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Red Sea, India, and, more distantly, the Silk Roads. These routes dispersed people, materials, and ideas throughout the empire.

You’ll hear more about these rich interconnections from a variety of specialists, including members of the curatorial team, community advisors, and catalogue authors.

This audio guide is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and produced in collaboration with Acoustiguide.


  1. 540. Welcome (Mosaic with Preparations for a Feast)
  2. 541. Curtain Fragment with Riders
  3. 542. Two Nubian Boxes
  4. 543. Four Ampullae of Saint Menas
  5. 544. "Ars Poetica": Poem for "Spell to Acquire a Beautiful Voice"
  6. 545. Double Folio and Folio from a Qur'an
  7. 546. Vita Icon of Saint George with Scenes of his Passion and Miracles
  8. 547. Two Wall Paintings from the Cathedral at Faras in Nubia
  9. 548. Panel Painting with the Crowned Nursing Virgin and the Twelve Apostles
  10. 549. Two Healing Scrolls
  11. 550. Light Sculptures: Aberash | አበራሽ | You Give Light II and Tsehai | ፀሐይ | Sunlight