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Archanes. c. 810 BC

This model of a circular building from Archanes, probably a shrine or a tomb, is unique of its kind. It was previously in the Giamalakis Collection. Although it is dated to the Geometric period, it preserves many elements of Minoan cult. Through the doorway, which was closed by a separate door leaf, is visible the famous goddess with upraised arms, wearing a tall headdress. Two human figures in low bandlike caps are lying on the slightly domed roof and observing the goddess through the opening. A small dog is lying next to them. The male figures are probably worshippers or secondary deities. This act of secret observation is thought to be a chthonic underworld theme, and this model may come from a burial. The model building has been made on a potter’s wheel, while the figures were made separately and attached. The whole surface of the building is covered with painted herringbone patterns and spirals, typical decorative motifs of Early Geometric Crete. Although the subject of the composition refers to Minoan art, the rendition of the figures on the roof and the painted decoration reveal the new aesthetic of the time.
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