Cultures across the world have used tile work as decorative architectural accents, as well as for surfaces upon which to walk. Modern tile work frequently appears on bathroom floors, on walls as decorative accents, and even on ceilings as a representation of pure artistic talent.
Some ancient civilizations where architects and artisans created amazing tile work and mosaics include ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and all the way back to prehistoric Iran. Incredibly, some of the tile work that was created thousands of years ago has remained on display to this day. Tile work commonly appeared on ancient mosques and cathedrals, as well as on residential homes.
Ancient Greek Tile Work & Mosaics
Like the Middle East and the Roman Empire, the Greeks would also cultivate exceptional artistry in tile flooring and wall mosaics. In fact, an ancient mosaic dating back to the 2nd century BC was recently uncovered by archaeologists in an area that was once the ancient Greek city of Zeugma. Incredibly, the 2007 discovery found that more than 2,000 homes were in good condition due to centuries spent buried under the water.
Similar to the development of mosaics and glass tile work within the Roman Empire, the Greeks would also transform their simple geometric mosaic patterns into portraits and pictures of real life objects, including animals, plants, and tools of the era. Those ancient, artistic traditions continue to this day.
Ancient Iranian Tile in Prehistoric Times
Decorative tile was used to create distinguished arts and architecture in Iran and was commonly used as part of the full range of decorative Iranian features like brickwork and stone carvings. Some of the earliest decorative tiles were used to cover monuments in ancient Iran, and patterned mosaics soon followed as the art evolved.
Early mosaics were often designed as intricate geometric patterns, and the art eventually started to feature trees, animals, and plants. One of the earliest mosaics ever found dates back to more than a thousand years BC and was created for a temple in Mesopotamia. Early tile work would eventually become more advanced as artisans began to use glazed bricks.
Roman Mosaics from Africa to Antioch
The mosaics and tile flooring of ancient Rome was found in many structures, including private homes and publicly accessible buildings. The mosaics, many of which are still in existence, offer a keen look into the talents of ancient artists, as well as the everyday lives of people living under the gaze of the Roman empire. To this day, Italian tile continues to exist as a world-renowned example of the art.
Italian mosaics were once made of small pebbles, and they were also crafted with pebbles in other cultures of the time, including the Minoan civilization on Crete and the Mycenaean civilization of Greece. The art of creating mosaics would come into its own around the 3rd Century BC when builders, architects, and artists would begin creating beautiful mosaics in intricate patterns, as well as of realistic portraits.
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Horizon Italian Tile offers more than 20 years of experience in working with premier quarries and factories to offer our clients unique and beautiful mosaics and tile flooring. Contact us today to talk about your project and how we can help you create something beautiful for your residential or commercial space.