Beauty of the fragments

Asàrotos òikos mosaic ( at the Gregoriano Profano Museum )

“This splendid mosaic, made up of tiny pieces of glass and coloured marble once decorated the floor of the dining room of a villa on the Aventine Hill in Rome at the time of the Emperor Hadrian. The decorative theme is that known as asàrotos òikos, or "the unswept floor", created in the second century B.C. by Sosos of Pergamon and here by the artist Heraclitus, who has signed his name. The artist has created a floor which seems to be covered with the debris of a banquet, the remains that would normally be swept away: one can identify fruit, lobster claws, chicken bones, shellfish and even a tiny mouse who is gnawing a walnut shell. The solidity of the objects shown has been created by a clever use of colour to create shadows against the white background of the floor. Where the room would originally have had an entrance there is a design with theatrical masks and ritual objects; at the centre there is part of a complex Nile scene.”