• [ΚΕΝΟ]


Fragments of relief frescoes with seated women

Τ41Α, Τ42
Fragments of stucco relief, conserved
Α) 94Χ64 cm. Β)132Χ187 cm.
Middle-Late Bronze Age, Neopalatial period. Middle Minoan IIIB-Late Minoan IA period:
1650-1500 BC:
Exhibition thematic unit:
Minoan wall paintings
The world of the court
The fragments of stucco relief frescoes found in a room of the “shrine” of the Minoan settlement on the islet of Pseira in East Crete depict two female figures wearing many-stranded necklaces and richly decorated garments, identified as priestesses or goddesses. The first figure is wearing a skirt with a network of lozenges, zigzags and intricate spirals, with rows of ivy leaves on the hem, while her bodice is decorated with zigzag bands and spiral motifs. The second figure preserves fragments of the bodice and a sleeve with particularly elaborate decoration: very fine strings were used to impress a grid of tiny squares measuring just 7 mm wide in the wet plaster. Minuscule rosettes were then painted inside each square with a fine brush. This exceptionally complex and delicate pattern, using a dense vertical grid, clearly demonstrates the skilled painter’s wish to render an exact copy of the elaborate embroidered motifs of a real luxury garment. The reconstruction of the seated figure on a rock is hypothetical, based on a similar seated form on an ivory plaque from Mycenae. The figure may equally well have been standing or seated on a throne, in a built shrine or on a platform, as we see from iconographic parallels of the same period. The relief frescoes of the women from Pseira, more than any other wall paintings, provide a lively picture of the opulent clothing and rich jewellery worn by contemporary women, probably of high social class. From a stylistic point of view, many scholars see in them a strong Knossian influence; they may even be the work of a Knossian artist.
Seager, R.B., 1910. Excavations on the Island of Pseira, Crete. Philadelphia, 32-34. Betancourt, Ph.P., Davaras, C. (eds), 1998. Pseira II. Building AC (the “Shrine” ) and other buildings in Area A. Philadelphia, 3-4, 55-75, 128, 130,Vol.1, fig. 128, p.758. Immerwahr, S.A., 1990. Aegean Painting in the Bronze Age. Pennsylvania, 54, 62, 78, 161-162, 184.
K. A.

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