Rhyton in the Shape of a Bull’s Head
Date ca. 1500-1450 BCE
Movement Aegean | Minoan
Medium Serpentine, steatite, crystal and shell inlay (horns restored)
Dimensions height 8.125″
Provenance Knossos, Crete
Housed at Archaeological Museum, Iráklion, Crete
Though the horns have been restored, this bull rhyton retains exceptional quality. Subtle engravings characterize a shaggy coat, while a pair of crystals, with their backs painted, represent the bull’s realistic set of eyes.
Given their abundance, and the fact that they were depicted on Egyptian tombs portraying Cretans, bulls are believed to have played an important role in Minoan rituals. The fact that this particular piece remains in tact is fortunate, as it is believe that most ritualistic instruments were smashed after use.