Mosaic as a decorative practice has been around for over 5,000 years, independently attempted by such dispersed groups as the early Sumerians of Mesopotamia and the Mayas and Aztecs of South and Central America. Origins of more prolific mosaic making technique seem, at present, to go back to 5th Century Greece.
The Greeks and Romans really embraced mosaics and they were used for centuries in homes ranging from the most prevalent palaces to more modest abodes. Their popularity eventually waned and practically disappeared in the Middle Ages but has since the 19th Century been making a strong comeback.
Mosaics can be divided into two main categories – figurative mosaic and more mathematical, pattern based mosaics.
Figurative mosaics have a very specific and sensory appeal – they reduce the aesthetic information contained in an image into something that contains only the necessary, prime features, the lines and contours of a face and the most contrasting shadows, for example. The mathematical mosaics, on the other hand, coat the surface with a complex tessellation that busies the surface with a dizzying and beautiful pattern.