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Craft and Trade in the New Palace Period

'La Parigina' - Affresco proveniente da Knossos
'La Parigina' - Affresco proveniente da Knossos
In the New Palace Period the trade routes between other places and Crete increased. Minoan trading stations existed in various Aegean Islands such as Kythera, Milos, Kea, Thira, Karpathos, Rhodes as well as in Asia Minor (Miletos), in Syria, and in Egypt (Faros). Cities called Minoa exist in Corfu, Laconia, Monemvacia, Amorgos, Paros, and Sifnos.
The stone designs of the New Palace Period become outstanding, as for example, the steatite bull heads from Knossos and Zakros as well as the alabaster lion’s head from Knossos that are displayed in the Iraklion Museum. Stone vases with carvings show detailed and complex designs. An example is the famous black steatite Harvesters Vase and other vases from Agia Triada which show a complex design in relief of harvesters in celebration processions following musicians and singers. Another rhyton from Agia Triada shows a number of athletes performing bull fighting, boxing, wrestling, and jumping. An egg-shaped rock crystal rhyton from Zakros with a rock crystal neckring and a handle of rock crystal stones is an exceptional work of art from this period. They are all displayed in the Iraklion Museum.
Work in ivory was also of exceptional quality. A statuette displayed in the Iraklion Museum, known as the Acrobat of Knossos, shows a boy executing a somersault over a bull. A superb chryselephantine statuette of a young male, known as the Palaikastro Kouros, is displayed in the Sitia Museum. Such quality in sculpture does not appear in the Greek world for another thousand years.
In the New Palace Period a technique (faience or fagentiani) was developed to give a glazed surface with different hues to pottery designs. The technique used a mixture of sand and clay with some resinous substance and with metal oxide and alkali for colour. The famous Goddess with the Snakes as well as a cow and a wild goat suckling their young were made with this method and they are displayed in the Iraklion Museum.
Wall painting for internal decoration was very advanced and it was used extensively during this period.
Il Vaso del Mietitore proveniente da Agìa Triada
Il Vaso del Mietitore proveniente da Agìa Triada
The themes and motion expressed in the frescoes gave a feeling of joy and life. The paintings were deliberately two-dimensional and avoided emphasis on depth. Often the theme is nature, plants, animals and marine life.
Sometimes parts of religious ceremonies and athletic activities such as bull fighting, are presented. Miniature frescoes of this period show human figures on a very small scale. The artists often created the shapes of the objects in a mixture of lime and sand, and applied it to the plaster coating of the wall to form a relief, after which the relief was painted. An example of this technique can be seen in the relief of the bull’s head from the North Entrance of Knossos. Relief construction was not pursued much further after 1600 B.C. The colours of the paintings were produced from minerals or metallic oxides which were inserted in the wet plaster (prepared in layers) and became permanent. When the wall was dry, the painters added additional mineral colours supporting them with unidentified substances. These colours have remained for many thousands of years, right up to the present day.
During the New Palace Period the Kamares-style of pottery gradually gave way to the Floral and the Marine-styles of ceramic decorations. The themes changed from abstract to specific flora or specific marine themes. Examples of themes are: octopus, nautilus, starfish, lily, papyrus and foliage. The colour relation between decoration and surface is now reversed and dark decoration appears on light-coloured background.
Towards the end of the New Palatial Period, after the disaster of 1450 B.C., a new style, called Palace-style, appeared in the only remaining palace, Knossos. Birds appeared in the design for first time. The realistic depiction of the plants, sea creatures, and birds was gradually lost, giving way to more abstract designs, as had been the case with the Kamares-style of pottery. However in contrast to Kamares pottery, Palace-style kept to strict geometric forms. In general, it seems that an anti-naturalistic approach and a return to pure decorative principles dominates this last era of the New Palaces. Clothing during Minoan times can be seen in the wall-paintings in Crete and in Thira, as well as from the various statuettes that have been found, like the Snake Goddess of Knossos. The feminine dress was composed of a skirt with flounces, an apron, and an open bodice leaving the breasts bare. The males of the time wore embroidered kilts.

Foto di Craft and Trade in the New Palace Period:



"Delfini" dal Megaron della Regina a Knossos
Anello d'oro con figura di dea e fedeli in atto di danzare
Anello d'oro con figura di dea e fedeli in atto di danzare
Tridente in steatite - un superbo esemplare dell'alto artigiano minoico
Tridente in steatite - un superbo esemplare dell'alto artigiano minoico
Il Kouros di Palaìkastro al Museo di Sitìa
Il Kouros di Palaìkastro al Museo di Sitìa
La brocca del
La brocca del "Polipo" del Nuovo Periodo Palazziale, proveniente da Palaìkastro
Vaso di stile marino del Periodo Palazziale Nuovo
Vaso di stile marino del Periodo Palazziale Nuovo
Vaso in cristallo di rocca con decorazione ad anello in filo di bronzo
Vaso in cristallo di rocca con decorazione ad anello in filo di bronzo
Figlia di Dea con due serpenti ed una pantera sul capo
Figlia di Dea con due serpenti ed una pantera sul capo
Il Ritone del Pugile proveniente da Agìa Triada
Il Ritone del Pugile proveniente da Agìa Triada
Il Vaso del Mietitore proveniente da Agìa Triada
Il Vaso del Mietitore proveniente da Agìa Triada
'La Parigina' - Affresco proveniente da Knossos
'La Parigina' - Affresco proveniente da Knossos