Ancient Aegean

Minoan art

The remarkable and influential bronze-age culture on the island of Crete is called "Minoan" after the mythic King Minos.

c. 3000 – c. 1100 B.C.E.

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Statuette of a Male Figure (The Palaikastro Kouros)
Statuette of a Male Figure (The Palaikastro Kouros)

This ivory statue of a young man bears similarities to both Greek and Egyptian art.

Kamares Ware Jug
Kamares Ware Jug

This delicate type of pottery helps us understand the far-reaching trade networks in the ancient Mediterranean.

Hagia Triada sarcophagus
Hagia Triada sarcophagus

This beautifully painted sarcophagus depicts an elaborate burial ritual—was it made for royalty?

Bull’s Head Rhyton
Bull’s Head Rhyton

This hollow stone vessel in the shape of a bull's head is both frighteningly realistic and beautifully stylized.

Harvester Vase
Harvester Vase

The exuberant procession depicted on this small but luxurious object celebrates the fruits of farming the land.

Octopus vase
Octopus vase

This vase with a charming image of a writhing octopus was made during the height of the Minoan sea trade.

Snake Goddess
Snake Goddess

Goddess, priestess, or simply a Minoan woman? Mysteries abound in this small figurine from Knossos.

Bull-leaping fresco from the palace of Knossos
Bull-leaping fresco from the palace of Knossos

Athletic youths spring over a powerful bull—who are they, and why are they performing such a dangerous act?

Minoan woman or goddess from the palace of Knossos (“La Parisienne”)
Minoan woman or goddess from the palace of Knossos (“La Parisienne”)

This woman's striking profile has long fascinated viewers, but we know surprisingly little about who she is.

The Palace at Knossos (Crete)
The Palace at Knossos (Crete)

The archaeological site of Knossos (on the island of Crete) —traditionally called a palace—is the second most popular tourist attraction in all of Greece.

Selected Contributors | Minoan art