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.
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
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.