Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
Minoan and Egyptian Goddess Cults
Minoan art was one of my first loves as an art historian. This dry fresco on the left has been nicknamed “La Pariesienne” (c. 1400 BCE) because the woman’s striped dress resembled a popular Parisian dress style. I’ve always liked this fresco, mostly because I love the woman’s curly, stylized hair. Sigh. If only I could have hair like that.
Obviously, this woman’s curly locks have distracted me from paying attention to other details in the fresco. I finally noticed, after reading yesterday’s post by heidenkind, that there is interesting loop knot that is located at the nape of the woman’s neck. It appears that this loop could be connected to the goddess cults, and more specifically, to similar Egyptian cults by way of the ankh symbol. Heidenkind also discusses further connections between these goddess cults through priestess girdles, which is fascinating to me, since the Minoan Snake Goddess (c. 1600 BCE) is one of my favorite pieces of ancient sculpture.
This connection between Egyptian and Minoan cults totally makes sense. There were obvious ties between the two cultures. Minoan art has often been compared to Egyptian art, and you can even see a similarity in “La Parisienne” – she is depicted in profile view with a frontal eye (the traditional mode of depiction in Egyptian art).
Anyhow, you should read heidenkind’s musings. It’s interesting to think about.
I remember wondering what was on the back of her dress when I fist saw La Parisienne, but I didn't think about it any more until I read Whitcombe's article. Minoan art is fascinating, though, isn't it? Modern audiences really respond to it, I think because it's so full of movement and personality and color.
I have to say I have always been impressed by the Snake Goddess. I think though some of the Classical Roman portrait busts would be my favourites.