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TITLE Revising the dress code of the “Goddess” from the Procession Fresco at the Palace of Knossos
AUTHOR Μπολώτη Τίνα
LANGUAGE Αγγλικά / English
PUBLISH DATE 18.06.2019
KEYWORDS Knossos palace, Procession Fresco, “goddess”, dress type, Mycenaean presence on Crete, new restoration, long robe with vertical band
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Flanked by two antithetical groups of men in procession, the prominent standing female figure in the LM II/III A1 Procession Fresco from the palace of Knossos was identified by Arthur Evans as the “Minoan Goddess”. Thus, he restored her, despite her very fragmentary state, as dressed in a flounced skirt in combination with tight bodice and polos headdress, and with double axes in her upraised hands. A first modification of her attire was first proposed in 1987 by Christos Boulotis: instead of long wavy bands descending free from her head and shoulders, as Evans believed, he recognized the end of a long fringed piece of cloth offered to her by the men approaching on her left. In the present contribution I focus on the reexamination of her garment, of which only the three richly decorated lower border zones have been preserved. The light shed on this by recent cleaning of the fresco simultaneously raised some enigmatic sartorial issues. In view of its close affinities with the LH IIIB “priestess” (Lang 1969, 50 H nws) from the palace of Pylos in particular, whose fragmentary long robe attests the combination of decorative lower border zones with a vertical frontal band,

I propose here a similar garment for the Knossian “Goddess” too. My proposal is essentially based on (a) contemporary Cretan fresco evidence (the Procession Fresco itself, the Hagia Triada sarcophagus and related compositions) as well as on the LH II signet ring CMS I, no. 179 from Tiryns and LH IIIB fresco parallels from the Mycenaean palatial centers – which clearly document this specific type of robe, as appropriate to deities, members of the priesthood (females and males) and to elite individuals in general; and (b) the fact that richly decorated lower border zones are not compatible with the flounced skirt in Aegean iconography. Given the appearance and diffusion of the long robe with vertical frontal band and lower border zones in Crete during the Mycenaean dominance of the island, its origin on the Greek Mainland, regardless of the degree to which that might have been due to Minoan influence, seems very plausible. In this respect, the fact that the Tiryns signet ring predates the related Cretan fresco evidence might be decisive in giving the Mainland priority.