Rhyton in the Shape of a Bull’s Head

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.