This art was responsible for the creation of some of the finest, indeed unique, works produced by Minoan civilization. Seal-engravers made use of both precious and semiprecious hard stones, which they worked into suitable shapes – cylindrical, lentoid, amygdaloid, etc. On the sealing surface they engraved miniature figures drawn from the world of nature, and also entire scenes of religious content. The variety of the motifs used is known from seal impressions found at Knossos, Ayia Triada, Phaistos, Zakros, Gournia, Sklavokambos, and Kydonia. The seal-engraver’s art was patently influenced by miniature wall-paintings. Seal-stones were once thought to possess a magic, apotropaic character, and they were used by women in Crete until quite recently as amulets to ward off evil.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis