Week 15 mosaic model : Ducks, Fish & Lotus

From the Eastern Church of Theodorias

The mosaic model of this week 15 (April 11 to April 17) is my drawing of Nilotic landscape featuring some Ducks, Fish and Lotus. 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

Many of the mosaics decorating this church represented scenes of animals closely related to Egypt. This is the reason why archaeologists believe the mosaicists that laid them were either of Egyptian origins or had trained there, probably in Alexandria

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 model 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


Liber magnus exemplorum musivi (Work in Process)

I intend to use them myself for the same purposes.

For the past 7 weeks, I have been publishing one of those models every week. I will go on !

Lotus nesting ducks and fish

This week I bring you the 6th square of the Qasr Libya mosaic :

Nilotic scene – Original
One of these ducks is actually sitting eggs on top of a lotus leaf. This is well observed as some birds actually do this. This denotes on part of the mosaicists either a good sense of observation, or that they worked from well documented models.

Hunting for eggs in the lotus pond

We will later see, specially when it comes to crocodiles, that the mosaicist did not always have a precise idea of what some animals look like. On their defense, it is easier to get close to a duck than it is from a crocodile…

Yes, it’s Croc !


Here in Theodorias, the 6th century African mosaicists, on top of their usual quaternity of colors (black, white, red and yellow) 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.

black and white mosaic model : ducks, fish & lotus
QEL 06_Black and White version
original color mosaic model : ducks, fish, lotus
QEL 06 – Original colors

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 48 patterns… And many more ! This is the 2nd model I publish of the Qasr el Libya mosaic. I have drawn all of the 50 regular mosaic squares that composed the floor of the church and am still working on the center piece (where an other weird feathery croc goes after a cow !)

You can check on previous mosaic models here :







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duck, eggs, fish, libya, libye, lotus, mosaic, nest, Nile, nilotic, roman
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