Pavement of Churches

Pavement Of Churches.

From the 4th century churches were carefully paved, as the Jewish Temple had an artificial floor. The narthex was laid with plaster, the nave with wood, and the sanctuary with mosaic. The custom of burying within churches between the 7th and 10th centuries led to the practice of covering the pavement with memorials of the departed; and at length the floors were laid with stone, marble, or tesselated or plain tiles. Rich pavements, like marqueterie in stone or Roman mosaic, occur in most parts of Italy, at St. Omer, St. Denis, in the Rhine country, at Canterbury, Westminster, and in the churches. of St. Mary Major, St. Laurence without the Walls, of the time of Adrian I, and St. Martin of the period of Constantine at Rome. The patterns are usually geometrical, but figures, flowers, animals, and the zodiac are frequently introduced with an effect equal to the richest tapestry. This decoration lasted till the 12th century, but at that time, and in the subsequent period, marble became rare, and hard blocks of freestone were used, and lastly tiles.

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