Seals and other objects of miniature art
The earliest seals made their appearance during the second phase of the Pre-Palace period. Made of soft stone or ivory, they were cylindrical, conical, hemispherical, pyramidal, or discoid in shape. The sealing surfaces bore simple linear designs.
Seal-engraving also flourished during the third phase. Use continued to be made of soft materials (ivory, faience) in a wide variety of forms, shapes, and sealing motifs. The most common shapes are cylindrical, three – or four-sided, and prismatic, seals in the shape of a knot, or depicting animals, animal’s heads, birds, monkeys, and so on. The motifs engraved on the sealing surfaces were mainly decorative, and only more rarely pictorial.
Seals were used as jewellery, amulets (magical purpose), and to make impressions in soft clay (practical purpose). Complicated motifs and compositions were engraved on their surfaces, and later entered the repertoire of multi-coloured Kamares pottery. It was on sealing surfaces that the earliest pictorial compositions were created, mostly involving figures of animals and religious subjects. Seals were also the source of the ideogrammatic and hieroglyphic scripts.
Of the other objects of miniature art worked in various materials, jewellery may be singled out: it comprised necklaces with coloured beads, stone and bone pendants, silver, bone, and bronze pins and needles, bronze tweezers, and silver diadems.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis