Group of votive terracottas

Minoan, about 2000-1700 BC
From Petsofa, Crete

Body parts dedicated with prayers for a cure

Among the votive offerings left by the Minoans at their peak sanctuaries were various models of body-parts. This terracotta group includes one half of a bisected male figure, two legs and an arm. The purpose of the dedications was presumably either to pray for a cure for the sick or wounded part of the body, or possibly to thank the deity for such a cure. The bisected body may have been intended to show the deity where the problem lay.

A thank-offering in the form of a marble relief of a leg, with an inscription to the healing deities Asklepios and Hygeia, shows how this sort of practice continues into later antiquity. Votive plaques showing parts of the body are still dedicated with prayers for health in Greek Orthodox churches today.

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More information

Bibliography

R. Higgins, The Greek Bronze Age (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)

Dimensions

Height: 9.000 cm
Length: 7.000 cm
Length: 7.000 cm
Height: 9.000 cm

Museum number

GR 1907.1-19.8, 24, 27, 28

GAA13496;GAA13497;GAA13498;GAA13492

Gift of the British School at Athens

Location

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