1600-1200 BCE – Minoan Art

Aerial view of the palace (looking northeast), Knossos (Crete), Greece, ca. 1700-1370 BCE.

The legendary home of King Minos, this is the largest Cretan palace of the Late Minoan period and is located at Knossos.  This is the location that Theseus killed the Minotaur and escaped the labyrinth with the help of Ariadne, Minos’ daughter,  and her spindle of thread.  The English word labyrinth comes from the intricate plan and scores of rooms of this palace.  The Labrys (“double axe”) motif recurs throughout the Minoan palace motif and is generally a reference to sacrificial slaughter in Minoan art.  The palace acted as a storage facility, office building, temple, entertainment center, dormitory for Minoan elite, and, of course, the king’s home.  The palace was a pretty amazing feat of engineering for its day; it was at least three stories high, provided interior light and air wells with staircases (below), and created an efficient system of terracotta pipes under the building to carry away rainwater.

Stairwell in the residential quarter of the palace, Knossos (Crete), Greece, ca. 1700-1370 BCE.

Minoan woman or goddess (La Parisienne), from the palace, Knossos (Crete), Greece, ca. 1400-1370 BCE.  Fragment of a fresco, 10″ high.  Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Bull-leaping, from the palace, Knossos (Crete), Greece, ca. 1400-1370 BCE.  Fresco, 2′ 8″ high, including border.  Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Landscape with swallows (Spring Fresco) from room Delta 2, Akrotiri, Thera (Cyclades), Greece, ca. 1650-1625 BCE.  Fresco, 7′ 6″ high.  National Archaeological Museum, Athens.

Marine Style octopus flask, from Palaikastro (Crete), Greece, ca. 1450 BCE.  11″ high.  Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Snake Goddess, from the palace, Knossos (Crete), Greece, ca. 1600 BCE.  Faience, 1′ 1 1/2″ high.  Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Young god(?), from Palaikastro (Crete), Greece, ca. 1500-1450 BCE.  Ivory, gold, serpentine, and rock crystal, restored height 1′ 7 1/2″.  Archaeological Museum, Siteia.

Harvesters Vase, from Hagia Triada (Crete), Greece, ca. 1500-1450 BCE.  Steatite, originally with gold leaf, greatest diameter 5″.  Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

<=Previous | Next=>

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s