Centered on an ancient synagogue's mosaic floor in Tunisia, a Boston exhibit presents contemporary jewelry, coins, marble statues, ritual objects and textiles to help visitors to see the role of synagogues and understand Jewish society in the ancient world.
"Tree of Paradise: Jewish Mosaics from the Roman Empire," is an exhibit running through June 8 at the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, organized by the Brooklyn Museum.
It includes the reconstruction of an ancient mosaic floor from a synagogue in Hammam Lif, Tunisia (the ancient town of Naro, later called Aquae Persianae by the Romans).
The mosaics, along with contemporary jewelry, coins, marble statues, ritual objects, and textiles from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection shed light on the role of synagogues in the Diaspora during Late Antiquity, the development of Jewish art in the Roman period, the importance of female patrons in the ancient Jewish community, connections among early Christian, Jewish, and Pagan symbolism in this period, and the relationship between ancient and modern understanding of the synagogue as an institution.
The works of art in the exhibition reveal a society where Jews were more integrated and accepted than ancient texts would suggest.
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