You’ve probably seen this in movies or on TV — the Bethesda Fountain is the heart of Central Park, and the subterranean arcade features a 50-ton ceiling made of encaustic tile designed by Jacob Wrey Mould and made by the famed Minton Tile Company.
Minton’s ornate encaustic tile was more commonly used as flooring, for instance in the US Capitol Building. This arcade originally had an encaustic floor, but that was removed in the early 20th century and only the ceiling remains. It is the only example in the world of a Minton tile ceiling and is constructed of 15,876 individual tiles assembled into 49 larger panels, each weighing a ton.
The arcade makes an appearance in the video for “I Just Had Sex” by The Lonely Island:
The alternating central medallions feature abstracted floral motifs:
The carved wall panels follow the themes of the Seasons, the Times of Day, and the Ages of Mankind:
Pan and zoom to get a closer look at the arcade here. The rest of the terrace features non-repeating ornamental details: