The stirrup jar is so-called because of the inverted stirrup-shape of the handles. with its fluid octopus design is typical of the Late Minoan period. Marine motifs, like the octopus, work well on a variety of vase shapes, because their shapes are simple, irregular and sinuous and translate well to two-dimensional representation. This Marine Style is also characterised by 'horror vacui', literally 'an abhorrence of emptiness', so a need to fill every available space with some ornamentation.
Here, as in many other similar vessels, the octopus swims diagonally, with rockwork, coral, seaweed and shells filling the space between the tentacles. The original of this piece, found at the palace at Knossos, is in the museum in Heraklion, Crete and dates to ca 1500 BC.
Minoan octopus stirrup jar (small)
more about the octopus
This flexible and intelligent creature, relates to the psyche, to emotion and to intuition.
The Minoans depicted the octopus in their pottery, jewellery and frescoes, and were clearly intrigued by this silent, graceful, sinuous creature.
They depicted the octopus on their pottery and in their frescoes: the silent, graceful creature, unfurling its tentacles, moving slowly through an element that is itself constantly in motion. It makes camouflage to protect itself against predators and, if necessary, can detach a limb, which in turn will regenerate. Its ejection of black ink is designed to confuse, delude and deter.
about the pottery collection
They are all made in Greece in the workshop of the Lioulias family, with whom It's All Greek is proud to have been working since 2004.
The vases themselves are manufactured in Greece, the images are then applied by transfer, before being painted by hand.