This lovely three-handled pithos 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, namely the need to fill every available space with some ornamentation. Rockwork, coral, seaweed and shells fill the space between the octopus' tentacles.
There is a similar pithos found in the palace at Knossos, in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum in Heraklion on Crete and dates to ca 1450BC. There is another in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
Minoan pithos with octopus
- Height: 23cm