An historic Roman Mosaic of two Pankratic Westlers

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In 2010, Sands of Time offered an extraordinary mosaic from Alan Bean, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12.

We are very proud to now offer the second of the three mosaics personally gifted in 1969 by King Hussan II, King of Morocco to the three NASA Astronauts from Apollo 12, the second manned mission to land on the Moon.

Presented to Richard F. Gordon, the command module pilot of Apollo 12, this exquisite piece shows two pankratiast wrestlers; the wrestler to the left is in what seems to be a control technique by holding and entwining the legs of his opponent who is portrayed in the turtle position. The full scene is represented against a white background and surrounded by a square red then black border. Small tesserae are used to create the opponents who are colored in superb earth tones, with shades of browns, yellows, blacks and reds.

The Pankratiast was one of the hardest athletic games, or sports, in which all the powers of the fighter were called into action. It consisted of a fierce fight involving boxing and wrestling. “Pankratiasts…must employ backward falls which are not safe for the wrestler and grips in which victory must be obtained by falling…They must have skill in various methods of strangling; they also wrestle with an opponent’s ankle and twist his arm, besides hitting and jumping on him, for all these practices belong to the pankration, only biting and gouging prohibited. The Spartans allow even these practices, but the Eleans and the laws of the games exclude them.” Philostratus, On Gymnastics

Provenance: After the Apollo 12 flight, Mission commander Charles “Pete” Conrad, Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean and Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon, together with their wives were invited to spend the night at The White House by President and Mrs. Nixon. In the evening, after dinner, The President asked the party to visit the leadership of 21 countries around the world, as his direct personal representatives, to relate the story of their moon landing mission. To facilitate this assignment they used Air Force One aircraft with two complete flight crews and a number of State Department coordinators. As representatives of The President of the United States they were treated with much celebration and respect everywhere they went.

In Morocco, King Hussan II presented each astronaut with a fine mosaic panel, Richard Gordon received the piece offered here, titled: “The Wrestlers”.

SKU: N Category:

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Condition:
Excellent
Creation Date:
ca 1st century AD

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