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The exhibit

Zakros. 1500-1450 BC

This stone vessel in the shape of a bull’s head from Zakros is similar to the one from the Little Palace of Knossos. Both vessels are rhyta, ritual vessels used for making libations. The liquid was poured into a hole in the back of the neck and ran out of a hole in the bull’s mouth. Although one eye of the Zakros rhyton bull was found during the excavation, the inlaid materials forming the inside of the eye have not been preserved, unlike the rhyton from Knossos. This, however, does not prevent us from admiring the masterly modelling of the bull’s head, with the details rendered in relief and with incisions. The horns are restored, as the lost originals would probably have been made of gilded wood. Similar clay objects were already used during the time of the Old Palaces, but stone bull’s-head rhyta are dated to the Neopalatial period. They are exceptional examples of the high level of palatial, probably Knossian art on the one hand, and palatial cult on the other.
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