On 18 October a very special loan from Israel will go on show in the rotunda of the Altes Museum. The exhibition ‘Hunter and Hunted – The Roman Mosaic from Lod’ (Israel) features a Roman-era mosaic from the small town of Lod outside Tel Aviv, which was unearthed in 1996 during municipal roadworks.
The mosaic floor dated to the 3rd century AD once decorated the state room of a wealthy Roman villa in the ancient city of Lydda. On show are the three best preserved and most interesting panels, bearing depictions of numerous exotic animals, including an elephant, a giraffe, a tiger, lions, leopards, a rhinoceros, as well as several fish and bird species. Particularly spectacular are the depictions of certain animal groups and predators with their prey.
The citizens of Rome and other cities in the empire were able to see exotic animals ‘in the flesh’, in the amphitheatres during ‘venationes’ or mass public slayings, and such animals became a popular theme in Roman mosaic art. The mosaic from Lod is unique for the diversity and density of its exotic fauna, depicted without any representations of the human form. The exhibition was produced in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Center.