Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

Do not miss at the museum of Heraklion :

  • Bull’s Head discovered at the temple repository.
  • The Snake Goddess. Faience figurine. Found at the temple repository at Knossos.
  • Bull Games Fresco (Taurokatharpsia). From a room at the East wing of Knossos palace.
  • Ceramic Pitcher, a fine example of “Kamares” ware with thin walls, elegant spout, and bold designs.
  • The Phaistos Disk. Clay tablet found at Phaistos with early writing which resembles hieroglyphic signs.
  • Harvester Vase. Carved of Steatite (brown, greenish soapstone). The low relief was probably covered with gold leaf and depicts a group of joyous harvesters returning from an olive grove. Discovered in the south of Crete , at Agia Triada
  • Gold Bee Pendant. Cast gold with gold granules soldered on the surface.
  • Pottery
    During the Protopalatial Period (1900-1700 BC), as Minoan society developed its complex organization, the introduction of the potter’s wheel allowed efficient production of vessels with thin walls and subtle, symmetrical shapes. The Kamares ware is the most characteristic style of this period. The pottery style developed in Kamares was characterized by very thin walls, robust swollen curves, elegant spouts and decorations and its beauty made it very popular in Crete as well as in Egypt and Syria where it was exported.The characteristic elegance of form of Minoan potter is complemented by the dynamic lines of naturalistic scenes that decorate the surfaces. The sweeping curves of the profile are emphasized through bold lines that traverse the surface and radiate in their contrast between dark and light values. This vigor of form, the spontaneity, and the fluidity of the early pottery was transformed to a more stylized manner of creation in the late Neopalatial era. This aesthetic metamorphosis reflects a turn in philosophical attitudes which became more interested in formalist abstraction and a dissociation with naturalism.
  • Minoan Painting
    Plastered walls from the Minoan palaces and villas that have survived to our day provide a precious portrait of life in Crete during prehistoric times.The figures and scenes painted in the Minoan frescoes display the familiar Egyptian side view with the frontal eye, as well as the sharp outlines in solid color.The Egyptian influence when it comes to painting seems to stop there as the Minoan frescoes distinguish themselves from the products of other Mediterranean cultures in many ways. They are characterized by the small waist, the fluidity of line, and the vitality of character bestowed on every painted figure. Minoan stylistic conventions emphasized elasticity, spontaneity, and dynamic motion, while the colors and high-contrast patterns instill an elegant freshness to characters and nature scenes alike.
  • Metal Work
    Exquisite metal works were created in ancient Crete with gold and copper imported from abroad and mainly Middle East  , as a result of commercial relations .The Minoans used  several techniques to shape various metals into useful , everyday objects, tools  and works of art/ jewelry .  They mastered the techniques of lost wax casting, gilding, faience and many more .The bee pendant is a good example of the artist’s mastery of the demanding process of faience, during which tiny beads of gold are adhered to the surface of the cast jewelry with a special low-heat solder alloy. This is a technique most likely learned from the Syrians and with whom the Minoans had regular contact.