The small size of the tesserae and the subtle color gradations combine to give a painterly quality to this work, especially the shadowing, the detailed feathering of each bird, the highlights of the krater and its rippling water. Similar compositions were popular throughout the Roman world, and all can be traced back to Hellenistic originals. The most famous of these depicts doves perched on the rim of a bowl, thought to be based on the work of Sosus at Pergamon, mentioned by Pliny and preserved in several copies. See for example the version from Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, now in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, no. 27 in Dunbabin, Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World. For a more closely related scene of various birds around a krater compare the mosaic from the House of the Sun Dial at Antioch, p. 194 in Cimok, ed., Antioch Mosaics.