Symbolism in early Christian Mosaic Art

Symbolic mosaic art arose out of the need to avoid religious persecution.

'The Winged figure of Victory holding a laurel wreath was a Classical symbol of triumph, and holiness. Later, it came to represent Christ's resurrection, and more generally, victory over death.

The Tortoise hiding in his shell represented darkness and ignorance, while the cockerel, who crows at dawn, signified light and enlightment.

ICHTHUS, or fish,, was an acronym for Iesous CHristos THeou Uios Soter - Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savoiur, in ancient Greek.

Colourful birds, such as peacocks, symbolised immortality and the glorious transformation of the soul when it arrives in Heaven.'

copyright 'Italy', Dorling Kindersley Travel Guides, London (2000ed)

Sue Kershaw
Mosaic Artist (UK based)