For decades, the courtyard inside the Lancaster Street entrance to the Worcester Art Museum has featured mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch, whose ruins lie just east of present-day Antakya, Turkey.
The centerpiece of these treasures is “Hunting Scene” and dates to the 6th century A.D. Excavated from a villa in the wealthy Antioch suburb of Daphne, it shows hunters, some on horseback, in combat with exotic beasts.
“Hunting Scene” is a work of subtle beauty, combining artistic elements from Greco-Roman and Persian traditions. It is just one of hundreds of mosaics removed from Antioch in the 1930s during archaeological digs undertaken by a consortium of museums and universities. Most remain in Turkey, but others are scattered around the globe, where they have helped millions better understand the cultural riches of the Middle East.
Today, visitors to the Worcester Art Museum can see a very different view of another ancient city located barely 75 miles east of Antioch – Aleppo, Syria.
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