This scene shows a kind of procession in honor of the deceased shown on the

This scene shows a kind of procession in honor of the

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This scene shows a kind of procession in honor of the deceased (shown on the right). 3 men in the middle bring offerings (animals and a boat). One woman on the left carries a vessel and one pours a libation. That might be an altar between 2 columns topped with the double axe motif. The male lyre player is reminiscent of the Cycladic sculpture as well as the lyre player on the Peace side of the Standard of Ur (c. 2600 BCE). The scene is framed by decorative bands, as though it were a shallow stage. * Harvester Vase , steatite ( a soft, black serpentine, may have been covered with gold leaf), from Hagia Triada, Crete, c. 1500- 1450 BCE, diameter at widest point: 5” This was found in one of the smaller palace buildings on Crete in Hagia Triada, which was a dependency of the palace at Phaistos. Only the upper half of the vase survives, but it’s the best example of Minoan relief sculpture. All of these vessels were found in fragments, so it’s thought they were ritually broken. This is called a rhyton – a vessel used for pouring liquids during sacred ceremonies. Is it a harvest festival? spring planting? It seems to be a procession of farm workers carrying tools, which look like a combination of a scythe and a rake. One carries an Egyptian rattle, a sistrum. Most are singing or shouting. Most are shown in
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composite view, but the man with the sistrum is in true profile, with his ribs showing under the skin and a very animated face. Compared to Egyptian reliefs, these figures are individualized, not repetitious, but rhythmic. Mood takes precedence over descriptive clarity; it seems that the sculptor had a sense of humor. * Snake Goddess , from palace at Knossos, c. 1600 BCE, faience – a mixture of sand and clay fired so the surface vitrifies, 1’1 ½” Actually, female figurines with serpents dating as far back as 6000 BCE have been found on Crete. It is typical that like other free-standing Minoan sculpture, it is relatively small. Is it a representation of a goddess? a fertility image? But the open bodice and flounced skirt were a typical Minoan costume. Crete had no temples, no statues of its gods or rulers. She evidently had some kind of power over animals (the snakes and the catlike creature on her head). Arthur Evans, who excavated the site at Knossos, found the cat separate from the figure and attached the two pieces. Many experts think this depicts a human priestess; some think it is a goddess. It may have been associated with protection of the home. * Young god(?) , from Palaikastro, Crete, c. 1500-1450 BCE, Ivory, gold, serpentine and rock crystal, original height was 1’ 7 ½” This was dug up in fairly recent excavations. It’s an example of a chryselephantine sculpture – gold and ivory (in this case the ivory is from a hippopotamus tusk). The gold probably came from Egypt.
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  • Fall '09
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  • The Iliad, Minoan civilization, MINOAN, Crete

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