Classical Period
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  • Abstract

    This book is about a single Minoan seal shape, the cushion seal - a rectangular stone with biconvex faces -- so called because its profile resembles a cushion. This shape is specific to Minoan culture. The first securely-dated cushions appear in Middle Minoan IIB but its floruit is Middle Minoan III-Late Minoan IA, after which it essentially dies out. While, in its early days, the materials, style, and motifs were similar to those of other seal shapes, it later developed a recognizable, perhaps semi-independent style and iconography of its own. Some of the finest examples of Minoan glyptic art appear on cushions. Who crafted them? Had they any special meaning? Why did the shape so abruptly disppear? This book is the first to examine all aspects of cushion seals and to compare them with other contemporary forms of glyptic art. It aims to cast new light on style and form at the transition from the Protopalatial to early Neopalatial period on Crete.

    Giulia Dioniso, MA in Archaeology, holds a degree in Conservation and Restoration from the Institute of Art and Restoration "Palazzo Spinelli", and is presently studying for her PhD in the Science and Technology of Cultural Heritage at the University of Florence. She is a member of the Italian Archaeological Mission of Erimi- Laonin tou Porakou (Cyprus) and in charge of the Restoration Laboratory.
    Anna Margherita Jasink is Professor of Aegean Civilizations at the University of Florence. Her research interests are focussed on historical and philological problems of the Aegean and Near Eastern worlds. Her many publications include Cilicia, Dall'età di Kizzuwatna alla conquista macedone (with Paolo Desideri), Gli stati neo.ittiti, Analisi delle fonti scritte e sintesi storica, and Cretan Hieroglyphic Seals: a new classification of symbols and ornamental|filling motifs. She is chief editor of the Periploi series of Aegean and Cypriot studies, and directs two web portals: an interactive museum on Italian Aegean and Cypriot collections (musint.sns.it) and the Aegean Laboratory (dbas.sciant.unifi.it).
    Judith Weingarten, M. Litt. (Oxford), is author of numerous articles and monographs on Minoan-Mycenaean glyptic art, its implications for social, economic, and political relationships, and cultural interactions between the Aegean and East Mediterranean and Egypt. Books include The Zakro Master and His Place in Prehistory, and The Transformation of Egyptian Taweret into the Minoan Genius. Her non-archaeological passion is Palmyra and the Roman East (Zenobia: The Rebel Queen, and Sign of Taurus). She blogs at Zenobia: Empress of the East, and regularly reviews for the Times Higher Education.

  • Table of Contents

    Preface

    Introduction
    1. Organisation of the study
    2. Origin and development of the cushion shape
    3. Distribution and dating (Maps I-IV)
    4. Terminology

    Chapter I
    1. Materials and colours (Tables I 1-2)
    2. Manufacturing techniques
    3. Cushions with two engraved faces (Table I 3; Images I 1)
    4. Cushions in vertical orientation (Table I 4; Images I 2)

    Chapter II
    Decorative and ornamental iconography (Table II 1; Images II 1-3))
    1. Architectonic and related motifs
    2. Concentric circles with central dot
    3. Geometric motifs

    Chapter III
    Scribal (Hieroglyphic) and post-scribal (talismanic) signs and motifs
    1. Hieroglyphic script (Images III 1)
    2. Talismanic and related motifs ((Table III 1; Images III 2)

    Chapter IV
    Figurative Iconography (Table IV 1; Images IV 1-3)
    1. Animals: Sea creatures
    Caprids
    Bovines
    Lions
    Bucrania
    Birds
    Scorpions
    Hybrid and fantastic creatures
    2. Human figures with animals
    3. Human figures alone

    Chapter V
    Cushion seals in metal (Images V 1)

    Chapter VI
    Seal impressions stamped by cushion seals (Images VI 1)

    Chapter VII
    1.Stylistic groups and workshops

    Chapter VIII
    Conclusions: the role of the cushion seals in Minoan glyptic

    Concordances

    Appendices
    A. Published and unpublished cushion seals without CMS numbers
    B. The on-line database catalogue

    Catalogue

    Illustrations

    References

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