Man in prayer

Man in prayer, 1580-1475 BCMan in prayer, 1580-1475 BC

This statuette was made in the days of Minoan civilization and comes from the Palace of Phaistos. The Minoan culture on the isle of Crete reached its height between 2000 and 1450 BC. The name refers to the mythical King Minos. This statuette dates from the late Minoan period, between 1580 and 1475 BC, and is one of the earliest bronze statuettes in the Greco-Roman collection of the National Museum of Antiquities.

Praying with your arms to your chest

The people of Crete sometimes clasped their arms to their chest while praying, with their hands at chin level. This man is leaning far back with his arms tensed in front of his chest. His swollen biceps clearly show the intensity of his prayer. He is wearing a loincloth and wearing a flat cap. Bronze and terracotta statuettes of this type usually have one arm raised, with the hand to the head. The two-armed pose seen here is less common. The round hat is a unique feature. Because the statuette is unpolished, the bronze appears slightly rough. Sacred statuettes of ‘adorants', like this one, have been found in sanctuaries, grottos, and the ruins of palaces - wherever the gods were worshipped.

  • Material: bronze
  • Height: 14 centimetres
  • Date: 1580-1475 BC
  • From: Phaistos, Crete
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