Trisha Shetty

Hinton St Mary Mosaic

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Created  4thC (early)
Place  Hinton St Mary, villa
Material  Ceramic
Period/culture  Romano-British
Registration  1965,0409.1
Present location  British Museum
Hinton St Mary Mosaic The tragic destruction of the Hinton St Mary Mosaic

The Hinton St Mary Mosaic is a large, almost complete Roman mosaic discovered at Hinton St Mary in the English county of Dorset. It appears to feature a portrait bust of Jesus Christ as its central motif. The mosaic was chosen as Object 44 in the BBC Radio 4 programme A History of the World in 100 Objects, presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor.

Contents

Hinton St Mary Mosaic Hinton St Mary Mosaic Archaeology Travel

The mosaic covered two rooms, joined by a small decorated threshold. It is largely red, yellow and cream in colouring. On stylistic grounds it has been dated to the 4th century and is attributed to the workshop of the Durnovarian school of mosaic art. It is currently in storage at the British Museum, although the central medallion is on display there.

Hinton St Mary Mosaic A History of the World in 100 Objects 44 Hinton St Mary Mosaic

Christian panel

Hinton St Mary Mosaic Flickriver Most interesting photos from Hinton St Mary England

The panel in the larger room is 17 feet by 15 feet. A central circle surrounds a portrait bust of a man in a white pallium standing before a Christian Chi Rho symbol flanked by two pomegranates. He is generally identified as Christ, although the Emperor Constantine has also been suggested. There is much evidence to lead to the identification of this as Christ, not least the absence of any insignia or identifiers pointing to a particular Emperor. On each side of this are four lunettes, each featuring conventional forest and hunting vignettes, mostly of a dog and a deer. In the corners are four quarter circles containing portrait busts, either representing the winds or the seasons.

Pagan panel

Hinton St Mary Mosaic httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

The panel in the smaller room is 16½ feet by 8 feet. It consists of a central circle containing an image of characters from Roman mythology, Bellerophon killing the Chimera. This has been interpreted in a more Christian context as representing good defeating evil. Flanking this are two rectangular panels again featuring dogs hunting deer.

Context

Hinton St Mary Mosaic British Museum The Hinton St Mary Mosaic

The mosaic was discovered in 1963 by the local blacksmith, (Walter) John White. Although it was excavated by the Dorchester Museum and lifted for preservation, none of the rest of the building has been examined. It is generally assumed to have been a villa. The layout of the mosaic room certainly resembles a Roman triclinium, or dining room. However, it might easily be a church or other Christian complex. There were no finds dated earlier than c. 270 AD.

Hinton St Mary Mosaic The tragic destruction of the Hinton St Mary Mosaic
Hinton St Mary Mosaic Hinton St Mary An Idyllic Dorset Village

References

Hinton St Mary Mosaic Wikipedia


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