Thursday, January 19, 2012

Minoan Pottery

               "Nature Always wears the colors of the Spirit."
                                                              Ralph Waldo Emerson
Minoan Jar
Minoan Jar from Knossos 1425 BCE with Papyrus decoration. Housed in the Heraklion Museum, Crete.

                              Marine Style  Minoan Ovoid Rhyton from Palaikastro, Crete.  
The interlocking scallop design forms a wavy pattern of bubble shapes that appear to rise towards the top of this tapered vessel.  The calligraphic elegance of the strong staccato lines running vertically up the sides of this vessel provides a poetic unity to the composition.  

Bridge spouted Jar from Aghia Triada, Crete 1500-1400 BCE,

Shard of a Marine Style Jar from Heraklion Museum, Crete.
This lovely shard has an exceptionally fine slip painted design.  The brush marks show a fresh and improvisational quality.  The combination of thick and thin lines create a lovely filagree.  This shard retains it's aura of exquisite beauty, even in its battered state,

Minoan Abstract Spiral Stirrup Jar from Kato Zacros, Crete
The spiral is a universal symbol replete with meaning.  It suggests motion, growth, transformation and directional force.  The  motif is sometimes related to the solar calender and reflects the rhythm of the seasons.

The powerful element of Line and its infinite capacity to describe rhythm and motion, its ability to evoke emotional response from fury to serenity, is employed gracefully through the hands of the Minoan potter.
Tension is created between the lyric freshness of the brushstroke and the expert control of the tools and materials.  The slip decorations suggest a highly evolved method of improvisation and artistic virtuosity.  Possessing vitality, breath, ease and fluidity, the innovative wares of the middle to late Minoan period remain a high point of artistic achievement in the ancient world.