Friday, June 26, 2009
This is a first century mosaic from Pompeii that contains both the Wheel of Fortune and Death. The Wheel is flanked on either side by a purple cloth (symbol of wealth and power), and a goatskin (representing poverty). The viewer is thus reminded that a person's fortunes can change in an instant - for better or worse. Death, of course, always lurks nearby, and can come at any moment. The soul, symbolized by the butterfly resting upon the Wheel, is then freed from its bodily home and flies away.