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HISTORY OF MOSAIC

Mosaics were one of the principle forms of expression in antiquity. They were a functional yet decorative feature of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean villas, temples, shops, bath houses, and eventually churches and mosques.

As early as 800 B.C., the Greeks began producing pebble mosaics. The designs were originally geometric. After 400 B.C., it became more economical to cut cubes from stone rods. Then the Romans included intricate geometric borders, war depictions, stories of the Gods and their antics onto walls and ceilings and scenes from everyday life. Around 480 A.D., glass and gold began to replace stone as the primary media in mosaics. Subject matter turned to religious figures and iconography.

The earliest known examples of mosaics made of different materials are dated to the second half of 3rd millennium BC and were found at a temple building in Abra, Mesopotamia. They consist of pieces of colored stones, shells and ivory. The first glazed tiles were found at Susa and Chogha Zanbil, dating from around 1500 BC. Mosaics of the 4th century BC were found in the Macedonian palace-city of Aegae. The 4th century BC mosaic of The Beauty of Durrës discovered in Durrës, Albania in 1916, was a rare example of expressionism in portrait during the ancient world.

Mosaics as a popular craft: Mosaics as a popular craft: Mosaics of today are no longer limited to professionals. Today's artisans and crafters work with stone, ceramics, shells, art glass, mirror, beads, and even odd items like doll parts, pearls, or photographs. While ancient mosaics tend to be architectural, modern mosaics are found covering everything from park benches and flowerpots to guitars and bicycles. Items can be as small as earring or as large as a house.