mosaic representing a scene of an elephant attacking a feline, in multicolors.; known to have come from the floor of an early Christian church near Antioch

Elephant Attacking a Feline, late 4th-mid 5th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Mosaicexpand_more

The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  69.49.2

G240expand_more

Animal combat is a Near Eastern theme which entered early into Greek and later Roman art. The introduction of large-scale animal compositions was an important innovation in mosaic decoration, possibly stimulated by circus spectacles. In the fourth century A.D. pavement mosaics of hunting scenes were installed in the villa of Constantine the Great in Antioch, setting an important local precedent. In this fragment of a larger scene, the elephant appears to be somersaulting the tiger with his trunk. The two animals are flattened and generalized into a linear surface pattern, with little attempt at anatomical accuracy. The Romans associated the African elephant with military victory, while tradition held that the tiger, a native of Asia, gave his name to theTigris river. Although this mosaic formed part of a pavement in an Early Christian church, any eventual religious significance of the animals remains obscure, and may not have been intended.

Details
Title
Elephant Attacking a Feline
Role
Artist
Accession Number
69.49.2
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

mosaic representing a scene of an elephant attacking a feline, in multicolors.; known to have come from the floor of an early Christian church near Antioch