Considered to be one of the Louvre’s treasures since 1862, Qabr Hiram’s mosaics actually come from the village of Hanawai, located on the road from Tyre to Qana in southern Lebanon.
Composed of an exemplary set of several ancient Near Eastern mosaics, this paleo-Christian composition from a small Byzantine church dedicated to St. Christopher, the legendary saint who died around 250 AD in Lycia, was discovered by Ernest Renan in 1860, during his famous Mission to Phoenicia. Its stones are composed of marbles, glass pasta and limestone cut into cubes.
Dated to the 6th century AD, considered remarkable because of the finesse of the figures, it represents on more than 120 square meters, different country scenes of the time: scenes of daily life, work of the fields or domestic or wild animals. It also features angel figures on one side. This provision recalls by these personifications the different months, seasons and winds. God is celebrated through his creations in an ensemble that looks messy but actually logical.
Having undergone a recent restoration that took more than a decade of effort, it is now in a new wing inaugurated in September 2012 and dedicated to the eastern mediterranean basin at the Louvre Museum. It was thus able to resume its original configuration, that of the layout of the church divided into three naves.
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