Also known as Vestibul Mosaic because of its location on the southern door of Hagia Sophia, Sunu mosaic is one of the most popular depiction of its time.
Literally, vestibule which is originally derived from French & Latin, means an antechamber , hall or lobby next to the outer door of a building.
The southern vestibule door is also known as the beautiful door which opens to the heaven.
It is located on the southern vestibule of the inner narthex and there is a huge mirror to reflect this mosaic’s beautity to its visitors in case they fail to notice it.
This mosaic was rediscovered by the architect Fossati during the repair process in 1849.
The mosaic features Virgin Mary, on her lap baby Jesus, Emperor Konstantinos the 1st and Emperor Justinianos.
The halos (a circle of light ) above the head of the people in the mosaic represents their holiness.
The emperors presenting the maquettes of the city and the church dedicated to Virgin Mary creates the main theme of this mosaic. Furthermore, they want to emphasis the the fact that Virgin Mary is the protector of the city and the church.
In the monograms behind the Virgin Mary there are Greeks words METER and THEOU. These words are translated into English as God Mother.
The baby Jesus while blessing all the humanity with his right hand he holds a roll of paper in his left hand.
In this unique silver colored mosaic which is also composed of gold leaves, Virgin Mary is depicted as sitting on a throne decorated with precious stones.
She wears a dark navy blue caphoriun and on the edges of the veil of Mary (Sancta Camisa) also known as headscarf, there is a gold braid. When observed carefully, there is also a cross symbol on her forehead and shoulder.
She sits on a backless throne on a platform. Drawn in an inverted perspective, this platform can be seen from different perspectives such as first narrow and then wide.
Behind the Emperor holding the maquette of Hagia Sophia, there is a writing on the wall which means ‘ in the memorible memory of famous Emperor Justinianos ‘.
Behind the Emperor holding the maquette of the city, which is surrounded by strong walls, there is a writing on the wall which means ‘the Great Emperor Constantine among the Saints’.
Konstantinos is not pictured according to the era he lived but to the era of the mosaic were done. His outfit includes a gold braided robe, also known as dalmatica , and a crown.
Virgin Mary was declared as the protector of the city after the siege of the Byzantines in 626.
II.Basileios had made this mosaic to commemorate the former two emperors and as an expression of gratitude to God after the victory he won against the Bulgarians.
The Sunu Mosaic has a width of 5 meters and a height of 3 meters.