The original Roman calendar had only 10 months, and February was not one of them !

March the first month of the year and December (Latin decem=10) the last. This calendar was based on both lunar and solar cycles and was not accurate. It included extra days or month when judged necessary, and quickly became out of whack with the reality of the seasons.. To remedy this Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, added the 2 months of January and February at the beginning of the calendar.

February was a month of purifications and offerings after the harshness of winter. Its name comes from Latin “Mensis Februarius”. It is the month pertaining to “Februa”or purifications. On february 15 the ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia during which

Roman mosaic of Februarius - the month of February, from El Djem, Tunisia
Februarius, El Djem, Tunisia

In this mosaic from El Djem in Tunisia, a woman is whipped with “februa”  thongs of goat hide sacrificed during the Lupercalia festival celebrated on February 15. Some historians believe our present Valentine’s day is an offshoot of Lupercalia.

February at MosaicBlues

In this beginning of the year, my activities are geared in 2 directions :

  • Documenting, working and reproducing Roman geometric patterns
  • Laying 2 bigger traditional mosaics

Roman geometric patterns

Back from Europe last month, I am spending quite some time documenting and recreating Roman geometric patterns. This includes recreating them in a way they can be used to generate graphic backgrounds.

Anse, France, Lozanges based pattern

I started in January to publish some of them on this blog. I plan to publish several dozens of these and may even put together an e-book about them. These graphics are free for use by anyone interested.

Vienne, France

I also began reproducing some of them by 3D printing, to use them to decorate my Minaudieres and Jewelry boxes.

3D Cubes Minaudieres sides

Traditional  mosaics

After a few month while I stayed off the big pieces, I got back to work on 2 traditional pieces :

  • Boer goats
  • Yabusame

Boer Goats is a commission for a friend of mine. I have know Chad for over 20 years. He happens to live 2 houses down the street from me. He started a Goat farm 5 years ago and is now getting some serious prizes with his animals. He also is one of the caretakers (with Geri – the dog cookies lady) of my border collies Itto and Tomoe when I travel away.

Boer goat mosaic, February 2020
The Boer Goats mosaic

Yabusame is a portrait of a samurai shooting arrows from horseback.

Yabusame mosaic, February 2020
Yabusame mosaic.

I have been wanting to do this mosaic for many years, and now that I am done with my Carola’s eyes series, I decided it was time to get started on it.

Yabusame is going to be flamboyant. It is quite big at about 3 x 4 feet, and includes very bright and warm colors.

model of the Yabusame mosaic, February 2020
Model of the Yabusame mosaic

As for most of my mosaics, I am these pieces in reverse method.


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boer, february, goat, minaudieres, Yabusame
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