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Synagogue floor

Synagogue floor

Synagogue floor


H: 276; W: 435 cm



Archaeology/Hellenistic, Roman & Byzantine Periods

This mosaic was unearthed in a synagogue in northern Beth Shean. The center features a shrine with two columns. This was probably both a symbolic representation of the Temple as well as an actual depiction of the main synagogue wall, in which the Torah shrine is shown covered by a curtain (parokhet) and flanked by large menorahs with glass oil lamps. The incense shovels and shofars were objects used in the Temple rites.
The absence of a citron (etrog), palm branch (lulav), and myrtle or willow branches, common in similar synagogue decorations, raises the possibility that the Beth Shean synagogue served the Samaritan rather than the Jewish community. The association of the Four Species with the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, would have led to their deliberate omission.

From the Israel Museum publications:

Treasures of the Holy Land, Ancient Art from the Israel Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986