A trip to the amazing Heraklion Archeological Museum in Crete a few days ago dug up some visual wonders for me.
Firstly, there’s the wonderful early Minoan ‘Poppy’ Goddesses with arms upraised as if they are all in agreement. Notice how the figures are encased (feet sticking out of a cylindrical shape). Perhaps their goddess status was only occasional and as I was looking at them they reminded me of the giant dancing ‘puppets‘ that spin around the crowded streets of Spain during a Festival . At the end of the night the Goddess takes off the hard casing, lowers her tired arms and enjoys some Cretan wine with Zeus and a few other friends. They are called ‘Poppy’ Goddesses since they normally feature opium seeds in their headdress (a symbol of sleep or death) so perhaps they are enjoying more than wine on their time off.
The museum is full of curiosities . Very little is labelled so you’re left to wonder as to their function. They had an amazing collection of ‘jugs’ one of which is this bereavement vessel which was found in a child’s grave – the facial expression is meant to be one of a mourning mother.
Where Minoan Art really comes into its own though is in its decorative pottery. They took such care and attention over the drawing quality and the vibrant patterning is just astonishing. I loved the octopus motif that occurred over and over again – the eyes give away a lightheartedness that is found in many of the shapes/animals they used.
Strange how so much of the work in the museum is amazingly fresh-faced despite being more than 3000 years old. And will it still thrill in another 3000 years? As the Poppy Goddess does, I’d raise both hands in agreement – absolutely.