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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ancient art

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What's missing from Minoan art?

What's missing from Minoan art?

Before you answer "The women's shirts," let me clarify that I mean here: What kind of animal is missing from Minoan art?

There are all kinds of animals in Minoan art, inhabiting the realms of land, sky, sea, and imagination. But there's one that doesn't show up until very late in the game, for very specific reasons.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Gender Equality in Minoan Art

A lot of people have the impression that Minoan art mostly contains depictions of women and girls. But that's all it is: an impression.

Back in the early days of this blog, I went through Nanno Marinatos's book Minoan Religion and counted up the male and female figures in the art depicted in the book. They came out just about even.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Mystery of Minoan Papyrus

When someone says "papyrus," most people think of Egypt - specifically, ancient Egypt with papyrus plants growing along the banks of the Nile and being made into sheets of material to write on.

People don't often think of the Minoans in connection with papyrus. But papyrus appears in Minoan art more than you might think. And we're still not quite sure what it means.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Mysterious Minoan Snake Goddess Figurines

The photo above (image CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons) shows two full faience figurines and one partial one from Knossos as displayed at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. You're probably already familiar with at least the two full ones in the middle and on the left.

What you might not know is that they weren't found in such a complete state, and at least one of them may have been reconstructed incorrectly.

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Modern Inspiration = Minoan Confusion

Minoan art is a constant inspiration: the colorful frescoes with people in naturalistic poses, an emphasis on the beauty of nature... but a lot of the "Minoan art" that circulates online is not Minoan at all, and definitely not ancient, even if it's inspired by the ancient originals.

Take the lovely image at the top of this post. It's a modern work that's a combination of this fresco from Akrotiri, ca. 1625 BCE:

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Royal Purple: Minoan Sacred Wealth

The deep purple dye commonly known as Phoenician purple got its start centuries before the Phoenicians, with the Minoans and their expansive trading network. The dye, created from the excretions of several different species of sea snails, was one of the most expensive in the ancient world. And it's one of the ways the Minoans became so wealthy.

The Minoans were producing the murex dye on the island of Chrysi off the coast of Crete as early as 1600 BCE. That's the earliest confirmed date, anyway. It's likely there were other dyeworks around Crete that haven't been discovered yet, and some of them will probably date to earlier, given how extensive and developed the Chrysi dyeworks were.

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The Minoan Seal Ring Project: Minoan-Inspired Modern Art

Art from around the world and across time is one of the aspects of human existence that connects us all. Whether we're looking at mammoths on a cave wall or a framed painting in a museum, we innately understand the urge to express ourselves creatively. It has been a part of us for as long as we've been human.

Art from the ancient world does more than just help us understand the people who lived back then. It can also inspire us to creativity in our own modern lives.

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