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Stirrup Jar with Nautilus

Minoan culture (named for the mythical King Minos) flourished on the island of Crete during the Bronze Age. The island’s ability to provide ports and trading depots supported economic growth and led to its development as a center for the arts and trade. Stirrup jars are named for the arrangement of two handles on either side of a vertical spout. The shape was created by the Minoans and, becoming a popular type, spread to the Cyclades and the Mycenaean mainland as well. Minoan pottery decoration is generally characterized by the flamboyant organization of organic forms. In this case, the design is abstracted from the sea animal called a nautilus and is typical of Minoan “marine style.”

Minoan (Crete)
Stirrup Jar with Nautilus
1300–1200 BC
Terracotta
H. 5 13/16 in. (14.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 87.4