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The exhibit

Phaistos. 1500 - 1450 BC

This elaborate jug, decorated with dense reeds, is meant for pouring liquids at banquets and ceremonies. It stands out for its exquisite decoration of reeds covering the whole surface, seemingly growing from a wavy ground, perhaps indicating a riverine landscape. It is thought to be the work of the so-called “Reed Painter”, one of several vase-painters who decorated vessels with these plants. He is identifiable by the way in which he paints the leaves with two brushstrokes. The vase is an example of the “Floral Style”, one of the styles of pottery decoration during the New Palace period, around the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. The vessels in this style are elegant masterpieces, distinguished by the way in which the decorative themes are perfectly adapted to and highlight the shape of the vessel. The shapes are often inspired by metal originals, while the repertoire of the decoration is associated with similar themes found in Minoan frescoes. The best examples of the period were probably produced by a small number of artists in palace workshops, mainly those of Knossos and East Crete, while many were also exported outside the island.
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