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The exhibit

Palaikastro. 1370-1300 BC

The chest larnax with gabled lid from Palaikastro stands out for its rich painted decoration. This is a dense arrangement of geometric decorative motifs and symbolic themes of Minoan iconography, such as waz-lilies, the column, the double axe, horns of consecration, birds and fish among astral symbols. The decoration is divided into panels. A particularly interesting element is the griffin in front of a papyrus flower. Griffins are imaginary creatures with the body of a lion and the head of a bird, usually seen accompanying the Great Goddess when she appears to mortals. The special symbolic significance of the image of the mythical beast is borne out by its presence in the throne rooms of the palaces of Knossos and Pylos, as well as on seals with religious subjects. The griffin on this larnax, as on other similar ones from Tanagra and the famous stone “Hagia Triada Sarcophagus”, indicates the presence of the Great Goddess, who, as the personification of the regenerative powers of nature, rules not only the world of the living but also the world of the dead.
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