Minoan and Mycenaean Sculpture - Bronze Age Greece
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Minoan/Mycenaean Sculpture

Snake Goddess
Minoan Snake Goddess

In the Bronze Age there was not a lot of sculpture in Greece. In Crete, between about 1700 and 1450 BC, the Minoans produced a lot of medium-sized figurines, mainly made of bronze and ivory.

Some of these show women holding snakes: this may be the goddess herself, or a priestess. Other figurines show the Minoan interest in nature and graceful movement, like a young man jumping on a bull's back. A number of figures are of cows or bulls, which also may have a religious meaning.
On the mainland, the Myceneans made only tiny clay figurines, three or four inches high, which were probably gifts for the gods.

Mycenaean figurines
Psi and Phi figurines

Can you see that there are two kinds - one with the arms up (called a PHI figurine because it looks like the Greek letter PHI) and another kind with the arms folded (called a PSI figurine because it looks like the Greek letter PSI)?


Learn by doing: make your own phi and chi figurines from clay
More about Dark Age Greek sculpture

Bibliography and further reading about Bronze Age Greek sculpture:

Minoan and Mycenaean Art, by Reynold Higgins (2nd revised edition 1997) The standard book for college students

The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction, by William R. Biers (1996). Biers writes very clearly and has a lot of good pictures.

Greek Art and Archaeology (3rd Edition), by John G. Pedley (2002) This has a lot of good information and is pretty readable. Plus, the author is really an expert in this field.

More about Dark Age Greek sculpture
Ancient Greece
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 27 March, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT