A large Byzantine marble table top Eastern Empire, circa 4th-6th Century A.D. Round in shape, with wide flat border decorated with a motif of columns linked by alternating semi-circular and triangular pediments, 40½in (103cm) diam
Provenance: Belgian private collection, formed in the 1950s.
Literature: Small table tops like this are thought to have been used during feasts for the deceased throughout the early Byzantine world. There is a similar hemispherical example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (acc no. 47.100.50).
For discussion of similarly decorated tables and their re-use in Islamic contexts, cf. F.B. Flood, 'The Medieval Trophy as an Art Historical Trope: Coptic and Byzantine 'Altars' in Islamic Contexts', Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World , XVIII, 2001, pp.41-72. Flood notes that depictions of the Last Supper in East Christian art show a sigma-shaped or round table rather than a rectangular one.