Peacock and a Flower

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
24 11/16 x 39 in. (62.7 x 99.1 cm)
AP 1972.18
Currently On View
In Early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality and was therefore an appropriate element in the decoration of a church. The accompanying flower probably alludes to God’s bountiful creation. Much Early Christian iconography is based on the metaphorical use of symbols such as these, which may derive from Old Testament and even pagan sources, rather than literal representations of scenes from the New Testament.

Provenance

(Elie Borowski (1913-2003), Basel, Switzerland); purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1972.