The iconic Minoan Snake Goddess.
Minoan snake goddess A (large)
Made in Greece. Hand-painted terracotta.
Two faïence figurines, dating to ca 1600 BC, were excavated at Knossos. Style B, with hands outstretched, is the larger of the two. Serpents, symbol of fertility, curl around her outstretched arms and body, their heads reaching her tall headdress. She wears a long robe and an apron and her breasts, are bare and characteristically protruding.
This one, the smaller figure Style A, holds snakes in both hands. Her layered clothing represents the weaving of multiple colourful bands of cloth, which was a Minoan speciality: shown to spectacular effect in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens. On her head she has a small seated cat.
Both are on display in the Heraklion Museum in Crete.