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Mosaics - Is it Art or Function?

Yes and yes! Mosaics are beautiful works of art and they can also be very functional.

During the 3rd millennium BC, the Sumerians embedded long terra-cotta cones into the surfaces of the walls and columns to protect the underlying structures and to decorate their surfaces with colorful geometric patterns.

Long before the birth of Christianity, the Chinese created mosaic pavements out of pebbles that were highly symbolic of the natural world around them. In Turkey, archeologists have discovered pebble mosaic floors in houses built during the 8th Century BC. The pebbles were arranged in simple geometric patterns and set in an early form of mortar.

Soon, a new mosaic material, natural stone cut into small pieces called tesserae , was introduced and widely accepted. It could be fit together more closely than pebbles and the results were more lifelike. The Romans soon came to use it with great imagination to create impervious surfaces in their homes and temples. Gold tesserae was widely used by the early Christians who began depicting sacred images on the walls of their churches.

With the rise of Art Nouveau in the 20th Century, mosaics began to appear on exterior architectural installations by famous architects such as Antonio Gaudi. This has inspired many other artists to mosaic everything from the walls of their home to even covering their furniture with mosaics.

Today, you can find mosaics that provide not only beauty, but functionality. Mosaic water fountains, floors that have intricate mosaic designs and colors, kitchen backsplashes that serve not only as protection of the wall surface but add artistic appeal, as well as bathroom tubs and showers that are surrounded by intricate mosaic tiles, adding charm and uniqueness to their function.

You can find many wonderful, fine art mosaic wall hangings, but don't overlook the opportunity to take your home from average to unique by adding this functional art form called mosaics.

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