D. (Diklah) Zohar

  • PhD student
  • Middle Eastern Studies

Personal Homepage: hum.leiden.edu/​lias/​organisation/​phd-middle-eastern/​zohard.html

PhD research

Mosaic-Craftsmen and Workshop-organization in the Provinces of Arabia and Palestina during Late-Antiquity
Supervisors: Bas Ter Haar-Romeny (LIRS) and Mat Immerzeel (LIAS)

This research focuses on figurative Byzantine mosaic-floors that have been excavated in the geographical area of the ancient provinces of Palestina and Arabia (current Israel, PA and Jordan) dating to the Late 5th, 6th and early 7th centuries C.E.

Mosaic floors in this region and period have survived to a remarkable degree and were applied in a variety of buildings: churches, synagogues, private homes, shops, bath-houses and burial-chambers. While modern study has focused mainly on the iconographical and iconological aspects of these mosaics, the current research concentrates on problem of production and the organization of the workshop. This is done through developing the tools of morphological analysis as a main methodology to recognize the work of an individual artist within the larger framework of the Byzantine mosaic artistic traditions.

The study struggles with a row of theoretical problems related to technique and style in the art of Late Antiquity. Various pre and misconceptions have moved modern study away from identifying individual artists, while this in fact may serve as the main key to shed new light upon questions relating to mosaic production, such as: How many artists produced a mosaic floor? Can this group of artists be recognized as a workshop? What is the geographical range in which an artist or a workshop was active? Did artists specialize in certain iconography? To which degree would this specialization dictate the chosen subject or depicted motifs? And what is the relation between the artist and the commissioner?

The morphological analysis refers to technical criteria (such as material, size and shape of stones, techniques of inlay, use of color) as well as stylistic criteria (the treatment and creation of volumes, textures and illusionist effects), filled by information gained from direct sources, especially the accompanying inscriptions, which usually state the date of completion of the work, the name of the commissioner(s), and sometimes also the names of the producers.


Relevant training

1992 - 1996                  B.A. cum laude in Art-History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. Date of graduation: 13th of June 1996.
1998 - 2002    M.A. cum laude in Art-History and Archaeology at the University of Leiden. Specialisation: Classical world; Roman/Byzantine period; Jewish art in late antiquity. Date of graduation: 30th of August 2002.
M.A. Thesis title: The iconography of the zodiac on mosaic floors from Jewish synagogues in Late-Roman-Byzantine Palestine.

Professional experience
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (RMO), Leiden: involved in different projects in the period 1996-2003; travelling-exhibition ’Ancient Lives’ to Australia en New-Zealand; a CD-Rom production about Classical antiquity (cooperation between publisher Spectrum en the RMO); Guide at the RMO, both in the permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

Museum van het Boek (Rijksmuseum Meermanno-Westreenianum), Den Haag; 1999-2001; Assistant Curator - documantation, registration and installation of the permanent exhibition archaeological collection.

Other relevant activities
- Participation in the archaeological excavation at the ancient site of Yavne-Yam, a project of Tel-Aviv university in Israel.
- Investigation to the production techniques of Late Antique mosaics in Ravenna.

Last Modified: 31-01-2013