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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Artwork of the day

The bee pendant, c. 1800-1600 BC, gold, Archaeological Museum, Herakleion, Crete

The bee pendant is an elaborate piece of jewellery found inside a wealthy plundered communal tomb near the palace of Mallia known as the “Chrysolakkos Tomb” (Chrysolakkos means a gold hole). It is a gold pendant that probably dates between 1800 and 1600 BC and represents two bees symmetrically arranged over what seems to be a honeycomb. Above them is a cage with a bead hanging inside it, whereas from the bee wings and tails three gold discs are hanging. The bees are depicted at the moment of placing a drop of honey in a honeycomb. The honeycomb, the bees and the discs are decorated with fine granulation and filigree technique indicating the artistic achievements of the time. The bee pendant, now exhibited at the Herakleion Archaeological Museum, exemplifies not only the use of exotic techniques learned and developed through the regular Minoan contact with the Near East, but also the Minoan desire for the creation of both naturalistic and elaborate designs. As a result the typical Minoan style was born.

Today's artwork is a generous contribution of Eleftheria Pavli, BA, MA

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