• Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 29-05-18 15:28
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  • Figurines
    • Techniques
      • Modelling
        • Common and simplest technique
        • Made from raw clay
        • Pushed and pulled using hands into the shape you want
      • Moulding
        • Mould made from a bed of clay or plaster then raw clay placed in mould
        • Way to make many of the same thing
      • Firing
        • Fired in a kiln at 600-800 degrees celsius
        • Slip (paint) is applied
          • Red, yellow, black, brown colours
      • Hollow columnar stem
      • Conventional poses – hands raised
      • Known as ‘tau’, ‘psi’ and ‘phi’type figurines as their shapes resemble these letters
      • Typical terracotta figurine is a standing female figure - wears long Cretan skirt, a jacket, and usually a spreading headdress, her arms may be folded or raised
      • Other popular types of figurine include a seated goddess, a chariot-group and a bull
    • Key Examples
      • Clay snakes, the Temple, Mycenae
      • Ivory Triad, Mycenae
      • Ivory Head, Room with the Fresco, Mycenae
      • Ivory Lion, Room with the Fresco, Mycenae
      • Phi & psi type figurines, Kazanaki of Volos, c1500-1300BC
      • Figurines, Cult Centre, Mycenae
      • Figurine of man & animal, Acropolis of Ebla, Syria,1600BC
      • Figurine with child, Child's Grave, Mycenae, 1300-1200BC
      • Priestess figurine, Knossos
    • Problems
      • What the figurines were used for or how many were made is unknown
      • No textual evidence (Linear B records) to back up these aspects so the importance of the figurines is hard to interpret
      • Not much evidence concerning Mycenaean beliefs therefore it is tricky to understand the significance of the figurines to the Mycenaean's
      • Were they made by everyday people or was it a special craft?
      • Unclear who they were supposed to portray & it is difficult to distinguish between goddesses & worshippers
    • Purpose of material & goods
      • Unknown
      • Could have been used as either children's toys, votive figurines or grave offerings
      • Purpose could change depending on context in which they were found
      • Seem to represent goddesses
    • Origins, trade & production
      • Found in tombs, shrines & settlement areas
        • Majority of figurines found in tombs were ones belonging to children
      • Many figurines have been found wherever Mycenaeans settled, including Syria, Crete & Southern Italy
      • Made of terracotta & ivory
      • Possible sites of manufacture - palace sites (Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, etc.), Cult centre
      • Mycenaean figurines derive from Cretan types, indicating an influence from the Minoans and the Near East, particularly Syria, where small clay goddesses were made in abundance at this time, also in regions like Attica and Thebes.
    • Decoration
      • Geometric patterning was common
      • Likely made by same craftsmen who made vases - decoration techniques similar
      • Crowned with headdresses and wear long dresses
      • Striped decoration (on majority)
    • Links to other themes
      • Religion – could have been religious offerings or display gods and goddesses for people to worship, could have been made for religious purposes
      • Trade – ivory used infigurines, influenced by Minoan and Syrian figurines
      • Women – female deities and priestesses make up the majority of  figurinesdiscovered
      • Countryside – animals such as bulls and snakes are often shown in figurines, was religion linked to farming and the countryside?
    • What can we learn
      • Snakes were an important symbol in Minoan and Mycenaean religion
      • There were female priestesses and female deities (both are backed up by Linear B tablets)
      • They had a developed imagination and creativity,with some figurines showing inhuman
      • Trade was an important aspect of Mycenaean life and culture as many of the figurines are influenced by Minoan and Syrian figurines


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