Mosaic emblema with cupids gathering roses in a garden

Roman, North African
Imperial Period
late 2nd–mid-3rd century

Place of Manufacture: Tunisia


Lender accessory (Mount (overall dims of object in the mount)): 48.5 x 61.1 x 12.3 cm (19 1/8 x 24 1/16 x 4 13/16 in.) Framed (Aluminum frame with a pair of wall cleats): 39.8 x 59.8 x 5.8 cm (15 11/16 x 23 9/16 x 2 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Fine stone and glass tesserae on terracotta panel

On View

Antioch Mosaic Gallery (Gallery 214A)


Africa and Oceania, The Ancient World



A portable panel mosaic comprised of three registers, only two can be clearly read, that illustrates the rose harvest and garland business.

At the top register three cupids gather roses in their own baskets in the garden. The garden is bordered to the left by a picket fence. At the right the fence is more elegant, with rectangular sections strengthened by diagonal crossbars. There is a trapezoidal re-entrance at the center of this right-hand section of fence. In the middle register , a cupid brings in a basket of roses on his back, in front him is a cupid who holds up a stick from which hangs a string of roses and a rose pomander hangs from a ribbon around his left wrist. At the center is a cupid seated on a basket of roses facing a four-legged table with clusters of roses neatly arranged. He holds up a garland of roses and may be the garland maker. At his back is a tree with silvery green leaves. At the left, a cupid holds a long pole from which are suspended four garlands. In his left hand he holds two more garlands. He may be about to set out to sell the garlands.

The mosaic is bordered by a black band surrounded by a brown area. It is composed of fine tesserae on top of a panel of terracotta, making it an “emblema”: created in a studio and installed ready-made into a pavement of coarser mosaic.


According to a letter from Günter Puhze, dated November 2, 2002, the mosaic "was in the possession of a French physician and found on his property in Sousse/Tunesia in 1938 (at that time a French protectorate). Before the independence of Tunesia it was brought to France"; by 1992: with Galerie Günter Puhze, Stadtstrasse 28, D-7800 Freiburg, Germany (Kunst der Antike 10, 1993, no. 27); September 17, 2003: purchased by MFA from Galerie Günter Puhze with funds donated by Jeffrey and Pamela Dippel Choney

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Jeffrey and Pamela Dippel Choney