• Partridge Frieze

Partridge Frieze
Partridge Frieze

Partridge Frieze

Fragmentary-restored. Reconstruction by E. Gilliéron fils
108 Χ 194 cm.
Late Bronze Age, Neopalatial period. Late Minoan Ι period:
1600-1450 BC:
Exhibition thematic unit:
Minoan wall paintings
The world of nature
The “Partridge Frieze” that adorned the walls at the entrance of the “Caravanserai”, south of the palace of Knossos, forms part of a rich landscape fresco depicting a scene that is both real and symbolic. A flowering landscape of streams, colourful plants, rocks and partridges, the most characteristic birds of Crete, is naturalistically depicted with great artistry in many colourful hues. On a shrub with reddish leaves perches a crested hoopoe with black-and-yellow wings. Among the bushes and rocklike formations in strikingly coloured blue, red and yellow bands, on a white or blue-grey background, stand partridges with their reddish-brown wings with grey-black bars. Some raise their wings like real birds about to take flight. The different background colour of the painting in the two parts of the composition led Evans to hypothesise that they depict two different moments in the lifecycle of the partridge, with the white and grey-blue background indicating the light of day in one piece, and the black symbolising the dark of night in the other.
Evans, A. The Palace of Minos: A comparative account of the successive stages of the early Cretan civilization as illustrated by the discoveries at Knossos, II,(1921), 107-120. Shaw, M. “The painted pavilion of the 'Caravanserai' at Knossos”, in L. Morgan (ed.), Aegean Wall Paintings. A Tribute to Mark Cameron, BSA 13, Athens 2005, 91-111.
K. A.

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