:: Minoan Cosmos ::

Minoan    Morningstar    Macuilxochitl    Feelspace    Milky Way

:: 2021 :: 50cm x 40cm :: Acrylics, Inks and Markers on Canvas ::

Produced for the 2020 edition of my research project on the Minoan Epiphany, this artwork springs from the corpus of epiphany images found in glyptic (gold rings, sealstone and seal impression) images of Bronze Age Crete to speculatively explore aspects of the three-tiered cosmos of heavens, earth and underworld that Minoans may have believed in, and with which epiphany rituals may have facilitated both contact and otherworldly encounters.

Inspired principally by archaeologist Giorgio Rethemiotakis's theories on the implications of the imagery on the Ring of Minos, the Sacred Conversation Ring and the Divine Couple Ring (both from Poros, Crete) for our understanding of Minoan concepts of spce and time, it places the earthbound Minoan celebrant within an animistic cosmos in which contact with heavenly and underworld deities and other supernatural beings is a constant and central feature of human life.

Minoan Cosmos

Towards the lower centre of the image is an island, representing the heart of the earthly domain, on which a shrine is seen flanked by two tree-pullers in ecstatic postures. To the left of these is a man leaning on a baetyl, while to the lower right is another man on a harbourside gesturing towards a floating goddess, reminiscent of the imagery on the Amnisos Ring. Running up both sides of the artwork, and completing the depiction of the earthly domain, are two images of figures standing upon mountains. The left-hand male with a downturned spear springs from the Master Impression, while the right-hand female springs from the Knossos M1-5 seal impressions.

Minoan Cosmos Detail 1

Beneath all of this are images of the underworld: the goddess in her ship sailing the ocean and transporting a shrine to a new land - imagery which springs from the Ring of Minos and the Mochlos Ring, among others - and the deity from the Knossos HM392 seal impression reclining in the ocean, along with a surreal bird-lady image from the Zakro Master's oeuvre.

Minoan Cosmos Detail 2

Moving to the upper centre, the scene is dominated by an image of the 'sacred conversation', inspired by the two rings from Poros. A male god or celebrant greets a richly attired goddess whose hair is waving in the breeze, and whose feet are downward pointing. She floats in a kind of seated position, elegantly supported by two fantastical birds. These two deities represent the liminal movement from the earth to the heavens facilitated by the epiphany ritual.

Minoan Cosmos Detail 3

Above them is the heavenly realm, delineated by a waving line which passes through their heads, underscoring the heaven/earth liminality. This realm is filled with astronomical imagery: in the centre the moon flanked by two crescents, two epiphanic figures, a star, milky way motif and a sun disk.

Minoan Cosmos Detail 4

'Minoan Cosmos' thus aims towards a holistic synthesis of the animistic universe of Bronze Age Crete, seen through the ecstatic eyes of the celebrants of the epiphany rituals, as they encounter shimmering sacred presences from beyond the human world.

 

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