Floor Mosaic with Peacocks and Kantharos-Fountain
5th or 6th century
Ohrid, North Macedonia
In the center, two peacocks feed on a grapevine growing from a kantharos, an ancient style of drinking-cup. This is a variation of the image type in which two stags drink from a fountain shaped like a kantharos. The creatures symbolize Christians in general and
candidates preparing for baptism
in particular. In this case, what flows from the cup is not water but a vine bearing rich clusters of grapes – a reference both to the wine of the Eucharist and to Christ's statement, "I am the vine, and you are the branches" (John 15:5). In three of the corners other avian species drink from vessels in various shapes. In the fourth (bottom left in the photograph) birds peck at sheaves of wheat, which symbolize the Eucharistic bread.
Read more about peacocks, stags, fountains.
Photo source: Blog post, Protecting Lake Ohrid, retrieved 2018-05-04.