Mosaic Museum

One of Istanbul’s smaller museums is tucked away just off the Arasta Bazaar behind the Blue Mosque, between our hotel and the Topkapi Palace. It houses, close to their original location, surviving sections of mosaic floors of the 4th-5th century Byzantine Palace – basic info here, with more on the museum’s own site and wikipedia.

Mosaic 4784

Mosaic 4779

Mosaic 4783

All the tesserae are the same size (about 5mm square) so it’s easy enough to see that the bird is actually the smallest of these three and the tiger hunt is by far the largest. The bird, by the way, is quite likely the Common Crane – range, coloration, posture and the tuft of tail feathers all match (thanks again to my Friendly Local Expert for the suggestion).

I was intrigued by the pattern used for large areas of background – neither random nor boringly square but an elegant pattern which I see as overlapping fish-scales or shells.

Mosaic 4770It is exactly the same as the pattern of cobblestones in the streets of the old city. I didn’t think to take a photo of cobblestones for comparison but the foreground of this street market scene gives a reasonably good view of some.

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