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Crete's Archaeological Museum of Herakleion Page Seven

seal shaped like a flyRoom 14

Hall of Frescoes (along with Room 15). Most frescoes in museum date from the New Palace period (1600-1400 B.C.) and were taken from Knossos. The Procession Fresco led all along the Corridor of the Procession at Knossos, of which four panels are exhibited in the museum. A diagram of the entirety gives an idea of its great size. A female figure is shown, supposedly a goddess or priestess with two groups of youths walking towards her. The Shields which decorated the Grand Staircase of the main Palace are also exhibited as well as the Lily Prince; a large relief of a Bull's Head; Ladies of the Court in a fresco that required intensive restoration; the the famous Dolphin fresco from the Queen's Apartment; the fresco of Athletes Leaping Over a Bull; the Griffin Fresco from the Throne Room at Knossos as well as a series from the villa at Ayia Triada, some of them with scorch-marks from fires, among them, a Wild Cat and a floor painting of a seascape. Also shown are two simple pictures of lilies from the walls of a villa at Amnisos. The Ayia Triada Sarcophagus, which stands in the middle of the room, is also impressive, and is decorated in the style of the frescoes. Though the decorations are of painted plaster, the sarcophagus itself is of stone, and the only one found in Crete. There are depictions on the sides of animal sacrifice (a dead bull on the altar, and two tied goats awaiting their end). The other side shows possible offerings being made to assist the deceased in its journey. The elaborate decorations of the sarcophagus have led to the assumption that it was originally used for a royal burial. On its end is the painting of a Chariot of Goddesses Drawn by Griffins as well as of a Chariot With Two Women Drawn by Goats with a procession of men below them.

Room 15

the phaistos discMore frescoes of the same period as in Room 14 are found here. La Parisienne is the most famous, named for the long-haired elegant lady with red lips, big eyes-probably a goddess or priestess.

Note on Frescoes: They were painted on wet plaster with dyes mostly from plants but also from shellfish and minerals, all of which have great lasting power. Certain conventions were followed as to coloring which conformed to Egyptian custom: red for men's skin, white for women's, silver conveyed by blue, gold by yellow and bronze by red. The reconstitution of these frescoes from small fragments is something to be marveled at, achieved partly by laying them on backgrounds consonant with their design so that the final impression would mimic the entire original as faithfully as possible.

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