Djemila Baptistery Floor Mosaic, Detail
Cioffi, Paul L., 1928-2004
The late 4th / early 5th C. Christian baptistery at Djemila (or Cuicul, southeastern Algeria) is a round structure designed with an outer ambulatory rimming its circumference and a circular inner ambulatory that envelops the central square, canopied font. Early 20th C. excavations uncovered the baptistery's original decorations and revealed that the entire floor is paved with mosaics. Skirting the font is a mosaic filled with sea creatures of all sorts: octopus, crabs and a variety of fish. The focal point of this aquatic scene is a large, double handled cup or chalice (shown in this image) evoking the Eucharistic (Communion) cup shared by all baptized Christians, understood as nourishment in Christ and bond of unity among believers. ca. June 1983
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