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Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean

Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean

Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression?

Introduction
Minoan ( 2700 B.C.-1450 B.C.) and Mycenaean civilization (1600 B.C. to 1100 B.C. ) are important parts of Aegean Civilization (3000-1200B.C.). There are some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression. In an attempt to have a further insight into the causes of the existing similarities, this essay will firstly give a brief introduction of Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression. Following each introduction, there is a representative example of the Minoan or Mycenaean artifacts for the purpose of comparing and analyzing the similarities. Finally, it will explain the causes of these similarities combined with the social backgrounds at that time.
 Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression?  
Minoan artistic expression
This part aims at introducing Minoan artistic expression in order to make the comparison with Mycenaean artistic expression.
Because the wood and textile were unable to resist the invasion of years, the most important art remains were the pottery, palaces, murals, sculptures and seals(Cline, E H,2010). Remains of art and material culture, especially the style of pottery, experienced three stages of development and each stage had its own characteristics.
 Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression?  作業代寫
 
In the Early Minoan period, the line shapes of ceramics were mainly characterized by linear spiral, triangular, curve, cross, herringbone etc. In the Middle Minoan period, it experienced a transform form those geometrical figures to naturalistic and realistic patterns such as lilies, squid, fish, and birds. In the Late Minoan period, those patterns of plants and animals were still the most common to see, but they tended to show more variability. Around Knossos, there appeared a new style —the 'palace style', which featured a strong geometric abstraction of naturalistic shapes and concolorous paintings (Fitton, L,2002). Late Minoan art shares a lot of similarities with Mycenaean art, especially in painting,which will be introduced in detail in the following text.
 
In the Early Minoan period, people mainly produce long-billed pottery長嘴陶器 and low-billed kettles, square drinking vessels, flat plate and Binaural bottles are the representatives. In the middle and late Minoan period, the patterns of potteries experience a transform form simple geometric drawing to the real shapes of plants and animals. An unearthed duck-billed kettle鴨嘴壺 of this period is oval-shaped (The National Archaeological Museum,2000). There is a little mouth on the front. On the dark paws, there are some white whirlpools decorated with red patterns of flowers, whose rhythm is lively and dynamic and color is bright and shinning.
 Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression?  作業代寫
Mycenaean artistic expression
In this part, the essay will give a brief introduction of Mycenaean artistic expression and a specific example of it.
Mycenaeans made a large amount of pottery. Archaeologists have discovered a great deal of pottery in the Mycenaean age, whose styles widely diverse. Kraters, stirrup jars, pitchers, chalices, etc. are common to see. Different vessels have different sizes. The artifacts which are designed for export were usually more luxurious, most of which were heavily decorated with equisite patterns. The themes mainly are warrior, incorporating mythic and animal motifs. Another kind of vessel, whose materials are  metal (normally bronze), is also not rare to see at Mycenaean sites. The forms of these were rather lamps,tripods, or basins. (Schofield, L,2007)
 
In Mycenaean culture period, there is a pair of golden glasses which can be a representative of this period carved handicraft, unearthed in a village near Spartan (The National Archaeological Museum,2000). The outer reliefs of them are annular. They are extraordinarily beautiful and can attract people’s attention. One cup of them describes the scene in which working people are capturing the bison by using a net. Among them, one is trapped by the net, one is jumping off the net and flee, and one is enraged and is trying to knock the two hunters down with its horns, which shows a strong sense of movement and rhythm. The surrounding environment is decorated with branches and ropes. The other cup is full of peaceful atmosphere. It seems to be the continuation of the story: a bison is grazing peacefully under a tree, and the other two are cuddling together, like a pair of lovers.Even though one of the two bison’s legs are tied up by ropes, but it seems that the bison is tamed, without showing any resistance, which indicates people gain the victory in the battle finally.
The composition of this pair of golden cup is natural and lively, both realistic and decorative. The image of the bison have been exaggerated,emphasizing their muscles to express bison’s brave characteristic, and people, in contrast, are thinner, embodying their flexibility. The whole relief is vivid and full of rhyme and rhythm. The relationship between human and bison is very precise, which shows Mycenaean artists’ keen observation of the natural life and superb metal craft level.The porcelain carving, bronze, ivory carving art,etc. of Minoan period also has the similar characteristics of exaggerated expressing human’s obesity to show hunters’ flexibility.(Wardle, K A and D Wardle,2008)
From the above two examples, it is not difficult to find out that both the two artistic expressions are vivid and full of rich flavor of real life, showing the realistic style. They prefer to use geometric figures to express the themes.
Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression?  作業代寫
 
Cause analysis

The similarities in the natural and social backgrounds are the main reasons to explain why there are some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression. In addition, mutual influence is also an important cause. Now, this essay will analyze and explain how the following four factors affect the similarities existing between the two artistic expressions.

 
Natural environment: learn from the ancient Egyptian civilization
The ancient Greek is on the verge of the sea. Long winding coastlines with numerous charming bays brings the Greek flourishing sea transportation. Because of being richly endowed by nature, it is convenient for Minos and Mycenaeans to learn from the ancient Egyptian civilization. In Minoan and Mycenaean period, the characters described in some sculptures are young men who have the Egyptians’ temperament and follow the traditional proportional rules of ancient Egypt.. Egyptians create geometry and huge number of geometrical patterns are used in both Minoan and Mycenaean artifacts. (Tongling College.2011)
 
The city-state system: the worship to human body
In Minoan and Mycenaean period, city-states constantly warred against each other. Healthy and strong citizens were needed to take part in the wars. Thus, both Minos and Mycenaeans were proud of having a magnificent physique. It became a national characteristics. This unique atmosphere gives Minos and Mycenaeans a special concept: in the eyes of the Minos and Mycenaeans, the ideal characters are not those who are good at thinking, nor those who have clever minds and keen perception, but those who are well-proportioned, vigorous and good at all kinds of sports. Artistic ideas come from the unique national character which is built up by this historical background leads to the worship to perfect body (Tongling College,2011). Simple living and none worries in economy causes Minoan and Mycenaean have the time to create and appreciate those heroes’ and Gods’ bodies, although this is an ideal which had been alienated from the real. The Minoan and Mycenaean sculptures have not only the perfect form, but also the sculptors’ artistic ideals. In the sculptures, there are almost no facial expressions on the face, no eyeballs in the eyes and no colors in the bodies. On the one hand, it results from the narrow limits of material properties and fields, but on the other hand, what the works wanted to express, is a solemn and quiet atmosphere, which is fully consistent with the ideal image of deity. Without the expressions about facial changes, turbulent emotions, special and unusual phenomenon, it is better for patterns and words to show the abstract proportion of pure body.
 
The complexity of social life: the realistic style
The realistic style originates form the development of social economy, especially agriculture. Both Minos and Mycenaeans breed cattle, sheep, pigs, goats,etc. and cultivate wheats, barleycorns, bush vetches, chickpeas, grapes, turkey figs, olives, poppies, etc.(Shelmerdine, C W,2008) Therefore, they like to portray lively animals and working people’s real production activities in their works of art. What’s more, the development of industry and commerce also promotes the diversification and of society.
 
With the increasing complexity of social activities and acceleration of the pace of life, people’cognition towards knowledge and values change. For Minoans and Mycenaeans, the field of concrete experience is far more reliable than the field of abstract ideal. Relatively speaking, more and more people tend to focus on the diversity of things rather than the unity and pay more attention to the differences between personal experiences. In Minoan and Mycenaean period, people’s understanding about the social changeability, the fast changing values and the temporary experience are reflected in the tense movement and violent emotional reaction in art. And the distance between ideal and reality is closer. Therefore, Minoans’and Mycenaeans think, compared with the abstract and the ideal things, the real and specific things are more important part of life. The former is not the necessity in life experience. So, in this period, the realism regards personal experiences and the differences between personal experiences as its actual content. The realism stresses more on diversity not unity, which gives artists strict requirements in skill.
Under this guidance, artists are more willing to express the nature they real see, to describe tiny details and delicate differences.This requires the artist to have keen sensibility in all areas of life, including the diversity of movement and various characteristics of different individuals.
Artists like to express a person’s unique personality, rather than the abstract model, which requires the superb skills of them. The facial expressions and other personal characteristics such as the curve on the mouth, the wrinkled skin, the flaws of the body are also needed to describe. In addition, the characters’ facial expressions must be true to life. Therefore, realistic expression can shape the characteristic image successfully. True to nature also means the performance of human details from the anatomical significance. Like a scientist, a sculptor must observe precise parts of human body, so, the masters of the two periods can successfully demonstrate the nuances of muscles.
In the carving art, each work is limited by the environment and humans are inseparable parts of the environment. In Minoan and Mycenaean period, the square degree of works of sculpture tends to become higher. The usage of shading effects of light and the pursuit of dynamic becomes more and more apparent.
 
 
Religion
A large amount of Minoan and Mycenaean artifacts appear so religious.The worship to God makes those artifacts have mythological themes.
In Minoan and Mycenaean period, there is a common sense that humans and Gods share the similar bodies. Gods have humans’ characters and temperament and they are given the power of nature, which plays a huge role in the world, such as it can determine the war's success or failure, control the person's destiny and so on. But Gods also serve mankind (Rodney Castleden,1994). As mentioned above, the Minoans and Mycenaeans both regard human’s perfect body as God's characteristics, Gods and mortals have the same body and can be wound by sword and spear and then bleed; they both have the instinct to anger and lust; even the heroes can be the lover of Gods and Gods are able to give birth to children. Therefore, it can be said that the Minoan and Mycenaean religion and mythology is full of human touch. It anthropomorphize various phenomenon in nature.
 
Mutual influence
Mycenaean civilization arose during 1600 B.C. to 1100 B.C. It is the civilization of Greece late bronze age. Minoan civilization( 2700 B.C.-1450 B.C.) arose before Mycenaean civilization. Its artistic expressions deeply influenced Mycenaean civilization, especially in painting.
 
The painting of Mycenaean period is heavily influenced by the Minoan civilization. In Minoan and Mycenaean art, the theme of some palace murals is characterized by diversity. Hunting (including bull), combat, queue軍隊隊列, myths and legends all can be reflected in painting. Other frescoes tend to use geometric patterns. As mentioned above, a part of pottery also painted with similar theme patterns.
 
 
Conclusion

Minoan and Mycenaean civilization both belong to Aegean Civilization. Thus, they inevitably share the similar natural and social backgrounds. As we all knows, any artistic expression is bound to adapt the backgrounds, so it is not at all surprising to find that there are some similarities between the two artistic expression. From the above analysis, we can see that social economy, especially agriculture, overseas trade, religion, mutual influence,etc. all are the explanation for why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression. Understanding this, it is better for us to further study Minoan and Mycenaean art.

Why are there some similarities between Minoan and Mycenaean artistic expression?  作業代寫
 
References
Cline, E H (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC). Oxford University Press, 2010.
 
Fitton, L. Minoans. British Museum Press, 2002.
 
Journal of Yichun College.Tongling College,Tongling 244000,China,2011
 
Rodney Castleden, Minoans, 1994; Goodison and Morris, Ancient Goddesses, 1998; Nanno Marinatos, Minoan Religion, 1993; etc.
 
Shelmerdine, C W (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
 
Schofield, L. The Mycenaeans. The British Musuem Press / Getty Publications, 2007.
Supplementary reading (in suggested order of reading)
 
 
The National Archaeological Museum (2000) Euangelia Kypraiou Archaeological Receipts Fund Direction of Publications, Athens Greece
 
 
Wardle, K A and D Wardle. Cities of Legend: The Mycenaean World. Bristol Classical Press, 1997.
 
 

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