Parrot mosaic

UnknownEarly to mid-2nd century BCE

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Impressive remnants of some of the finest examples of Hellenistic mosaic were discovered in the last royal palace to be built on the Pergamene acropolis (Palace V). […] The parrot mosaic was removed from another section of floor mosaic, while a neighbouring section had already been removed in the ancient period. Because the condition of the parrot mosaic deteriorated after its removal, a mosaic copy was made for display in the museum. The copy was based on a watercolour painting published by the excavators. Only a few parts of the original mosaic now survive: a small piece of the neck with its distinctive ring – identifying the bird as a ring-necked parakeet (Torquatus palaeornis) – and several tail feathers. The original black background, light foreground, and white border are relatively well preserved.This mosaic was made of minuscule pieces of stone set so closely together that the end result almost looked like a painting. […] Friezes of garlands above and below the parrot pane lsignalled the special status of the Altar Room. Although the upper frieze survives in only a few fragments, the lower one is preserved in larger pieces. […] The double border on the left side is well preserved. The narrower band features a bead-and-reel motif on a black ground; the red stones between the ovals and the flat discs enhance the impression of a real string of beads. […] The garlands consist of fruit, flowers, leaves, and clothbands tied into bows. A nightingale and woodpecker perch nearby, while a wheateater stalks a butterfly.


  • Title: Parrot mosaic
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Early to mid-2nd century BCE
  • Location: Pergamon, Turkey
  • Physical Dimensions: w303 x h170 cm
  • Type: Mosaic
  • Medium: Stone tesserae
  • Inv. no.: Mos. 71
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

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