Serpentine blossom bowl


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 151

High shouldered blossom bowl carved with ribs and grooves.

Minoan artists crafted vessels from a variety of stones using chisels, hammers, and copper-alloy saws. Finer tools like copper drills with abrasives were employed to hollow out their interiors. These vessels were durable versions of standard terracotta and metal forms, made with such high quality that they were exported throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. Stoneware has been found in settlements, cemeteries, and sanctuaries alike; the smallest examples were likely votive offerings. Particularly popular and long-lived forms are bird’s-nest (see 26.31.434 for example) and blossom bowls (such as this one), the latter perhaps imitating Egyptian lotus flowers in bloom. Both likely served as containers for ointments.

Serpentine blossom bowl, Serpentine, Minoan

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