Al fusaifisa’ الفسيفساء (mosaic)

Country: Lebanon
Rea Mahmoud Hallab
Rea Mahmoud Hallab

Mosaic is an ancient craft associated with the arts of civilizations that have conquered Lebanon, notably the Romanian and Byzantine civilizations. The Mosaic Museum in Beiteddine (Lebanon) includes a significant part of this artistic legacy taken from the Byzantine churches discovered during the civil war in Jiyeh area, south of Beirut.

This heritage is not only displayed in churches, but in many houses and historic palaces decorated with mosaics from all previous architectural eras up to the present day. This craft underwent development and prosperity after its introduction in the curriculum of many Lebanese architecture and arts institutes, thus incorporating techniques acquired by experience rather by education.

Mosaics are made of pieces of stone, wood, glass, marble, shells or glazed pottery (ceramic). It is the art of cutting and assembling, in a harmonious and artistic way, small pieces over a flat or curved surface. Then pieces are glued and cleaned with different materials that fit with the adopted raw material.

The craft of mosaic making evolved in Lebanon after its introduction into the curriculum of arts institutes. Different materials started to be used in a single design as one can see in the innovative art pieces showing in several places and houses around Lebanon, and even on the walls and monuments decorating the cities’ streets.

Several ateliers are spread in Lebanon to sell pieces for mosaics (of different materials) or assemble them. These ateliers gather designers and mosaic workers along with artists working themselves on designing and assembling their innovative artwork. Many excelled in the practice of this craft, such as Greta Sukarieh, Dana Adada, Colette Khalil, Abdel Karim Imamy, Michael Tarazi and others.

Picture 1: Dana Adada

Picture 2: Mosaic mural: designed and executed by Ms. Hala Nazir Akkari (Graduation project, Institute of Fine Arts)

Mosaïque au palais de Beittedine dans le Chouf

Picture 3: Old mosaic (Beiteddine mosaic museum)

Mosaic manufacturing videos and sites in Lebanon: