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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Mosaic with Two Figures Seated on a Couch: Side Panel of Bird and Plant Border (one of four panels from a floor)
Work Type
3rd century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Antioch (Syria)
Roman Imperial period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

stone tesserae mosaic
H. 132.1 cm h x W. 96.5 cm w x D. 7.6 cm d (52 x 38 x 3 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
House of the Green Carpet, Antioch, DH 30Q (Turkey, Hatay). Excavated by the Syrian Department of Antiquities (later the Hatay government) and the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and Its Vicinity (1937), dispersed; to Fogg Museum of Art, 1939.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This series of four mosaic fragments depicts a man and woman seated together on a couch with a pink canopy raised above their heads. The woman wears a dark purple himation with a golden border that drapes across her lap, and a dome-shaped golden crown. She raises her right arm above her head and holds a yellow fruit between her fingers. On the right are the man’s lower legs and two feet, crossed at the ankle and resting on a stool. He wears high-laced buskins and a long, pleated garment. Two erotes complete the composition: one stands at the man’s feet peddling goods from his basket and the second floats above the couple on the right, holding one edge of the canopy.

The figural scene is framed by a border of guilloche followed by a pattern of heraldic birds that alternate with flowering plants.
The composition likely represents Venus and her consort Adonis in a private moment prior to Adonis’ departure for the hunt. The couple appear in one other instance at Antioch in the Atrium House where they are shown enthroned (1).

The panel comes from the House of the Green Carpet near Daphne, a suburb of Antioch in modern-day Hatay, Turkey. It was found during the 1936 excavations led by the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity.

1. See Princeton Museum inv. 40.156; R. Stillwell and G. Elderkin, Antioch-on-the-Orontes I (Princeton: Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity, 1934), 42, 47-48, fig. 9; Doro Levi, Antioch Mosaic Pavements (Princeton University Press, 1947), 24-25, pl. 2a.

Publication History

  • Antioch On-the-Orontes III, Edited by Richard Stillwell: The Excavations 1937-1939 (Princeton University, 1941), p. 203, pl. 77; cat. 160
  • Doro Levi, Antioch Mosaic Pavements, Princeton University Press (Princeton, 1947), pl. LXXIa
  • Doro Levi, Antioch Mosaic Pavements, Princeton University Press (Princeton, 1947), p. 315

Subjects and Contexts

  • Roman Domestic Art

Related Works

Verification Level

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