Jordan is home to a flourishing mosaics industry and the most popular pattern, without a doubt, is the Tree of Life. It appears on souvenirs wherever you go in Jordan, including those made by the 78 artists (many of them with disabilities) at this mosaics factory in Madaba. Copied from the original in Hisham’s Palace near Jericho, it depicts a tree bearing fruit (possibly apple or pomegranate) with gazelles grazing peacefully on the fruit while on the other side a gazelle is attacked by a lion. The gazelle dies and nourishes the tree, continuing the circle of life. One of the oldest still-existing towns mentioned in the Bible, Madaba is famous for its St. George’s Church with 6th century mosaic map of Palestine. Although largely Islamic, Jordan recognises an extraordinary number of Biblical sites, and it is heartening to see Christianity and Islam co-existing peacefully.
Photo & text © Christine Salins
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