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An etrog, a lion and all the secrets of 1,300-year-old mosaic in Jericho



Why is a citrus fruit – also known in Hebrew as etrog – featured in the magnificent mosaic paving the main hall of a caliphate castle in Jericho? According to Dr. Lev Arie Kapitaikin, a lecturer in Islamic Art at Tel Aviv University and Shenkar College, the choice to include the fruit in the artwork remains somewhat mysterious but it does show the deep interconnections between the Abrahamic faiths.


“The etrog is considered an enigmatic fruit in Islam,” he said. “Nobody really knows what it means: perhaps it was a symbol of fertility, perhaps even of dynastic succession. Here it is depicted with a knife, near the throne, a location that highlights its importance. It is interesting to see how a Jewish emblem also became important in Islam.”


From an article in the Jerusalem Post

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