Minoan Art Pottery

 

Minoan Pottery Flamboyance

 

From around 2700 to 1450 BC, the Minoan civilization flourished as a seafaring and mercantile culture. This vibrant culture was centred around the island of Crete and eventually dominated the Agean region. The Egyptians called the Minoans “the Sea Peoples” and had a fond appreciation for Minoan pottery and ceramics, prized for their innovative shapes and sea-inspired designs. Their vases and jugs were made in fine clay with thin walls and was an outstanding achievement at this time. Historians have learned everything there is to know about the Minoan people through their artwork. Artwork such as paintings, potttery, sculptures, and architectural designs were important to the people of the Minoan civilization in Crete.

Their decorative wares were covered in bold, flowing, rhythmic movements with patterns using linked curvilinear and undulating lines. Minoans painted their pottery decorations on wet plaster, which allowed the pigments of metal to bind to the plaster. However, this required the painter to exercise specific skills that allowed him or her to work within the time constraints imposed by the color on the plaster drying. This type of art encouraged improvisation and personal expression because there was very little time for the painter to create highly detailed art pieces. Flowing broad strokes were favored, which covered the surface more rapidly and gave their art a stylized, abstract appearance.

Minoan pottery was initially decorated with designs in dark, often shiny paint(vitreous slip), in shades of red, brown, and black, on a light surface. Between 1900-1700BC the Kamáres style developed into the most colourful and vibrant style of pottery form and decoration yet seen anywhere. Images were painted on a black-brown background in reds, whites and blues. Sea and shore fauna and flora were the most important source of design. The animals displayed a playful nature and emphasised a flambuoyant liveliness characteristic of Cretean Art. Nowhere else in the art of the ancient world was such a lightness of spirit displayed, compared to the creativity of the Minoans at the height of their power in the early 15th century BC.

From 1700BC their technique of making and handling quartz frit paste had reached a higher standard than any other culture. Many small colourful plaques, figurines and jewelry in blue and polychome were made and exported, along with their pottery, to Egypt and the Levant islands of the Aegean Sea, and also in Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and even further into the depths of Africa.

 

 

 

 

Kamares crater vessel with decorative lillies

Kamares crater banquet vessel with decorative lillies

Phaistos.
Old-Palace period (1800-1700 BC)

 

 

 

Minoan maiden with prayer beads Fresco

Minoan maiden with prayer beads Fresco

 

 

 

 

Tray with handles and whirling motifs from Phaistos

Tray with handles and whirling motifs from Phaistos

 

 

 

 

Minoan pottery -- frying pan with characteristic decorative spirals.

 

Minoan pottery — frying pan with characteristic decorative spirals.

Iraklio museum -Minoan pottery

Iraklio Museum – Minoan pottery

 

 

 

Bronzen female figure Late Minoan

Bronze female figure Late Minoan.

 

 

Mycenean octopus pottery

 

The Minoans were conquered by the Mycenaeans and this Mycenean octopus pottery from Thissus reflects the influence of the Minoans.

 

 

 

 

 

Minoa, Kamaras libation vessel

 

Kamaras libation vessel

 

 

 

 

 

Elegant ewer with reed type decoration

Elegant ewer with reed type decoration that creates a pattern of dark and light colours on the surface of the pot.
Example of the decorative mannerism of the Late Neopalatial period, a work by the artist conventionally referred to, as ‘Reed – Painter’ (1450 BC).
Heraklion Museum

 

 

 

 

Minoan Jug with waves, from Faisto

Three handled pitcher

 

 

 

 

 

Large lidded pot from Mochlos

Large lidded pot from Mochlos

 

 

 

 

 

Minoan dolphin pot

Reproduction of a Minoan dolphin pot

 

 

 

 

Minoan jar with spiral motif

Late Minoan Jar with Three Handles

 

 

 

 

Minoan pitcher Templar1307-flickr

Minoan Marine Style Pitcher

Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete

( Templar 1307 – flickr )

 

 

 

 

Handpainted Mycenaean Krater

 

Mycenaean Krater ca.1400-1300 B.C.

 

 

 

 

 

Minoan Snake Goddess statue

 Minoan Snake Goddess

 

 

Minoan wall art

 Minoan wall art

Circumstantial evidence indicates that women played a dominant role in Minoan religion and perhaps also in Minoan society. Some believe that the Minoans lived in a matrilineal, or even a matriarchal, society.

Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete

 

 

 

 

 

415px-632px-The-Minoan-was-a-Bronze-Age

Minoan eight handled amphora

 

 

 

 

Pottery Jar with Octopus Design  from Knossos

 

  Pottery Jar with Octopus Design  from Knossos,  Crete.  Late Minoan period II  c.1450 1400 BC   Fine Arts Reproduction

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy Shirran with  a three handled Amphora

 

Wendy Shirran with  a three handled Amphora she made – Palace style, white earthenware with stained slips and terra sigelata, Late Minoan II, 1450-1400 BCE

 

 

 

 

Libation vase (rhyton) of serpentine, in the shape of a bull's head

 

Libation vase (rhyton) of serpentine, in the shape of a bull’s head with inlays of shell, rock crystal and jasper in the muzzle and eyes. Knossos. New-Palace period (1600-1500 BC)

 

 

Minoan drinking vessel

 

Minoan drinking vessel

 

 

Minoan Terracotta Pitcher

 

 Minoan Pitcher

Archeological Museum in Heraklion.

 

 

 

 

Minoan wall painting, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete473px-385px

Minoan wall painting, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete

Minoan Pottery - Iraklio museum

1. The Boxer Rhyton. Steatite libation vase with relief scenes of boxing, wrestling and bull-leaping. Ayia Triada. New-Palace period (1500-1450 BC)

3.  Steatite libation vase (rhyton), originally covered with gold leaf, with a relief representation of a shrine in a mountain landscape. Zakros. New-Palace period (1500-1450 BC)

(  http://arctangent.smugmug.com )

Heraklion-Archaeological-Museum

Carved amphora vessel

 Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete

 

 

 

 

Frieze of dolphins in the Cretan palace of Knossos

Frieze of dolphins in the Cretan palace of Knossos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spouted jar, Kamares Ware, Middle Minoan period

 

Spouted jar, Kamares Ware, Middle Minoan, 2000-1700 BC

 

 

 

 

Marine Style Ceramics of the Cretan-Minoan Neopalatial Period

 

Marine Style Ceramics of the Cretan-Minoan Neopalatial Period (c. 1650 BC to 1450 BC).

 

 

 

 

 

Iraklio-museum - Minoan libation vase

 

The Harvester Vase. Steatite ( soapstone ) libation vase (rhyton) with a relief scene of a procession of men led by a man holding a staff – an official or priest. They hold harvesting tools and sing to the accompaniment of the sistrum. New-Palace period (1500-1450 BC)

 

 

 

 

Minoan  Kamares style vase

 Kamares style vases with complex polychrome decoration, from Phaistos and Knossos.

Old-Palace Period (1800-1700 BC)

Amethyst Minoan Seal Ashmolean Museum OXford

 Minoan Amethyst Seal

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University

 

 

Kamares style bridge-spouted Jug

 

Kamares style bridge-spouted Jug-1800-1700 BC

( Nicholas Kaye – Flickr )

 

 

 

Minoan pottery

 

Minoan vessel. Marine Style decoration. 1500 BC.

 

 

 

 

Cretean-tripod,-terracotta

Cretean terracotta tripod from the Minoan Palace of Malia

 

 

 

 

 

Heraklion Knossos ceramic jug

 

Tonkrug Katsambas

 

 

 

 

 

Minoa phaistos Small Kamares ware jar

Small Kamares ware jar, with bands and interconnected spirals,
Palaeopalatial Period (1900 – 1700 BC)
Heraklion Museum

 

 

 

Minoan Marble Bowl

Minoan Marble Bowl

 

 

 

 

475px-403px-

 

Minoan Snake Goddess

 Mycenaean  fish and octopus pitcher

 Mycenaean  fish and octopus pitcher

 

 

 

 

 

Minoan_Gold_Ring

 

Minoan Gold Ring

 

 

 

 

 

Minoan Phaistos ewer

Painted Kamares ware ewer or pitcher with three handles and relief spiky decoration,
Palaeopalatial Period (1900 – 1700 BC)
Heraklion Museum

Acrobats Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Uni

Acrobats – Minoan Chalcedony carving

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Uni

 

 

 

 

Minoan Jug from Mochios

Minoan Jug from Mochios

Labrys pithos

Labrys pithos – 1500BC

Knossos Palace

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2 Comments

  1. THANASIS KATSARAS
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    the fry pan is not minoan, it is Cycladic (Naxos 2800 b.c.)

  2. John Charles Heiser
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Thanasis. All in all, a fabulous display of the culture I have believed to be the real Atlantis for more than 4 decades. We have so much to learn. The level achieved by these potters and decorators stands as masterwork no matter where or when. Is there any mention of these people in the Hittite libraries?

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