Lambs and Loaves in the South Hall of the Aquileia Baptistery

Late 4th century
Aquileia, Italy

Among the abstract designs on the mosaic floor are a number of octagonal segments containing either lambs or baskets of bread. The lambs most likely represent the baptismal candidates. The bread in the baskets is in the form of small loaves incised with crosses and is obviously symbolic of the Eucharist. A similar basket is paired with a chalice of wine in the Christian Victory panel on the floor of the main church. Because the Eucharist was not explained to candidates before baptism, it may be that this chamber was used for the post-baptismal instruction known as "mystagogy."

Baptistery floor in full resolution
Lamb image 1 in full resolution
Lamb image 2 in full resolution
Lamb image 3 in full resolution
Basket image in full resolution

Read more about images of the Lamb of God symbol.

Photographed at the baptistery by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.