Thursday, 22 November 2012

First impressions: ROOM 10 (+ 5 and 11)

House of Orpheus, looking west from room 10
Photo courtesy of Pompeiiinpictures
This room is very likely to be the triclinium of the house. There are no signs of the three couches that identify that kind of spaces. However, the room has a privileged view on the relatively large garden and colonnade. According to Pompeian conventions, the triclinium was usually arranged to offer the best view that the house could offer. Looking at the plan, the room could appear to be not centred with the garden.

However, we should bare in mind that the best view was a privilege of the main guest. Thus, the best view had to be maximised for the pleasure of the eyes of the main guest. Conventionally, the most important guest seated at the right edge of the central couch. From that position the view falls nicely on the main focus of the front fresco: the scene with Orpheus and the animals.

The room has an elegant marble threshold that still shows the sign of a big door.
In this room are also still visible traces of the wall frescoes. The remains of the vivid colours allow to rebuild, partially, the decorative pattern of the fresco. (Preshun suggests a virtual restoration, but I have no means to assess his reliability). The lower part of the fresco still shows the main lines of delicate figures of birds (Phoenixes?) and plants.

House of Orpheus, room 10 detail
Photo by V. Vitale, 2012
House of Orpheus, room 10 detail
Photo by V. Vitale, 2012

Rooms 5 and 11 are other two very narrow passages, running at the sides of room 10, which is identifiable as the triclinium. At least one of them, if not both, might have been passages for slaves in charge of serving meals to their masters. Passage 5 is connected with both room 10, the atrium (room 1) and the perystilium.

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