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The exhibit

Knossos, Palace. 1600 - 1450 BC

The Prince of the Lilies is perhaps the most famous of all the Minoan frescoes. It depicts a young man in high plaster relief against a red ground. The life-size male figure, comprised of three non-joining pieces, is wearing a colourful loincloth and belt, and a majestic crown of waz-lilies and peacock feathers. According to Arthur Evans, the excavator of the Palace of Knossos, he was the “Ruler of Knossos”, the “Priest-King”, the personification of religious and secular power. Other scholars propose different reconstructions of the fragments and interpretations of the fresco, identifying the “Prince” as an athlete, a boxer, or a ruler making a gesture of command, while the luxurious crown is thought to belong to a priestess or a sphinx. The poor state of the relief does not allow us to make out the skin colour and therefore the gender of the figure (red for male and white for female), as it is conventionally depicted in the Minoan frescoes. It is certain, however, that the headdress and waz-lily symbol have a religious significance and that the figure depicted held a very important position in Minoan society. The fresco was discovered in the South Wing of the palace of Knossos, and the excavator believed it formed part of the Procession Fresco. The Prince of the Lilies may indeed have adorned a processional corridor, but at an earlier date than that to which the fragments of the Procession Fresco belong.
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1 January: closed

6 January: 08:30 – 15:00

Shrove Monday: 08:30 – 15:00

25 March: closed

Good Friday: 12:00 – 17:00

Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 15:00

1 May: closed

Easter Sunday: closed

Easter Monday: 08:00 – 20:00

Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 20:00

15 August: 08:00 – 20:00

28 October: 08:00 – 20:00

25 December: closed

26 December: closed