Week 13 Mosaic model : Libyan Oryx

From the Eastern Church of Theodorias

The mosaic model of this week 13  (March 28 to April 3) is a drawing of a pet Oryx antelope mosaic. The original mosaic was a square medallion from the floor mosaic of the Eastern Church of the ancient town of Theodorias, a roman town from the Cyrenaica province of North Africa, now named Qasr el Libya.

mosaic of the eastern Church where the antelop mosaic was found
Eastern Church of Theodorias

The lively and colourful mosaics of Qasr Libya are considered some of the finest examples of Byzantine period art ever discovered. Dating from around 540 AD during the period of Emperor Justinian, they represent a wide range of animals, buildings and mythological creatures.

They are displayed in the Museum of Qasr el Libya

You can see detailed pictures of the 50 square mosaics here.

A Mosaic model catalog

I am adding my drawings of these figurative mosaics to my mosaic models library just like I do for the ones from the great Lugdunum geometric mosaic.

I am slowly building a catalog of models like the ones antic mosaicists and painters must have had. I believe they used them for 2 purposes :

  1. Create their own mosaics and paintings
  2. Show them to their patrons to chose which designs they wanted on walls and floors of their villas

I will use them myself for the same purposes.

For the past 6 weeks, I have been publishing one of those models every week. I intend to go on !

A pet Antelope and Pomegranates tree

This week I bring you the 5th square of the Qasr Libya mosaic :

pet oryx mosaic - 6th century, Qasr Lybia
The original pet Oryx mosaic

Many domesticated and wild animals were represented on this mosaic. Here we have what I believe a young Oryx gazelle. She wears a small bell around her neck and probably was the favourite pet of a young local child.

Adult female Oryx

A pear tree stands behind the gazelle. In some Christian contexts, the pear symbolizes the Virgin and Child, likely because of its sweetness.

The mosaics of Theodorias were built in a wider range of colors that the usual quaternity of White, Black, Red and Yellow colors.

4 basic colors of Roman mosaics


Here the 6th century african mosaicists used several hues of greys and, ochres which were locally available to them. Usually, mosaicists would source their materials in a 100 km radius around their shop.

I generally build 2 versions of my models : a black and white which can be colored at will and an other one with colors close to the original.

QEL_05 Black and White Oryx


pet oryx mosaic model
QEL_05_Colored Oryx


I built those drawings using the 2 pieces of software GIMP and Inkscape which you can freely download and use.

You are welcome to use my drawings for your own creations

I can draw models of gazelles, flowers and geometric shapes because some guys spend time to develop and maintain programs that are free to download and use. These people work hard at this because they love to share, I admire that. Which is why I share my drawings. You are free to copy and use them for any graphic project, mosaic, painting, quilting…

If you do so, it would be nice to mention their provenance, but you do not have to. I would also really enjoy to know how you used them !

If you need higher resolution of them, please contact me

Stay tuned for the next 49 patterns… And many more ! This is the 2nd model I publish of the Qasr el Libya mosaic. I have drawn about 30 of the 50 regular mosaic squares that composed the floor of the church.

You can check on previous mosaic models here :






Share this:
africa, animal, antelope, Byzantine, cyrenaica, drawing, FGL, gazell, libya, libye, model, mosaic, mosaique, olbia, olia, oryx, pear, peartree, pet, qasr, romaine, roman, theodorias
Previous Post
Week 12 Mosaic Model : Lugdunum 04
Next Post
Week 14 Mosaic Model : Lugdunum 05

Related Posts

You must be logged in to post a comment.