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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the figurine traditions of the Bronze Age inhabitants of Crete (Minoan) and mainland Greece (Myceanean), covering c.3000–1100 bc. As in many cultures, Aegean figurines are predominantly made from terracotta or fired clay, but stone, ivory and bone, metal, and faience are also utilized. Early Minoan ‘vessel figurines’ and the votive figurines deposited on Middle Minoan Cretan peak sanctuaries in large numbers are presented as case studies for the Minoan terracotta tradition. The faience ‘Snake Goddesses’ and bronze figurines illustrate elite traditions and Minoan technical virtuosity. Restricted largely to the Late Bronze Age, Mycenaean terracottas can be characterized as figurines and figures. The former are small, handmade, and found across a range of contexts, while the latter have wheel-made bodies and are mostly restricted to sanctuaries. Discussion is framed around form, function, performance, and context, while keeping in mind issues of gender and identification.

Keywords: Minoan, Mycenaean, faience, gender, goddess, peak sanctuaries

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