Mosaic of Menorah with Lulav and Ethrog

6th century
Made in Tunisia, excavated Hammam Lif Synagogue
Stone tesserae
22 5/8 x 34 15/16 x 1 3/4 in. (57.4 x 88.8 x 4.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum, New York, Museum Collection Fund (05.26)
Not on view
The Hammam Lif Synagogue
A large mosaic found at the Tunisian town of Hammam Lif is so closely aligned with regional conventions that its structure was first identified as a Byzantine church. The presence of a Latin dedicatory inscription identifying the site as "Sancta Sinagoga" (Holy Synagogue), flanked by two Menorahs, revealed that it was a synagogue. The floor consisted of four mosaic carpets, integrating distinctly Jewish symbolism with popular motifs of the period, including a lion.
The menorah was often depicted flanked by symbolic ritual objects. Here, what appear to be the ethrog (citron) and lulav (date-palm branch) of the festival of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) were altered during restoration of the mosaic.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.