Collection Highlights: Antiquities
Clay pithos (storage jar) with octopus design
Cretan, H: 74.5 cm. Late Minoan period II (about 1450 BC). AN1911.608.
The Cretan collection is one of the most important groups of material in the Ashmolean. It was largely formed from the excavations in the ‘Palace of Minos' at Knossos conducted by Sir Arthur Evans, a former Keeper of the Museum, between 1900 and 1906, and given to him by successive Cretan and Greek governments in recognition of his work. The most characteristic decorative motifs employed in Minoan Crete in the Late Bronze Age were sea creatures and marine plants. This pithos from Knossos is decorated with a sinister but stately octopus and (in the top left part in this view) a murex shell, the source of the purple dye that was highly prized throughout antiquity. Presented by Sir Arthur Evans.
Aegean World (Gallery 20), Ground Floor, Central Plinth