'Octopus Style' stirrup jar

Mycenaean, around 1200 BC
From Tomb 10, Ialysos (modern Triánda), Rhodes, Aegean Sea

For storing perfumed oil

This attractive stirrup jar was placed in a tomb at Ialysos on Rhodes as a grave offering. It was probably originally used to store perfumed oil. The jar is decorated with a highly stylized cuttlefish, its natural form reduced to a series of patterns. A long-necked bird is painted on the left of the cuttlefish, beneath one of its tentacles.

The distinctive style of this jar is known as the 'Octopus Style', which was made in several areas of the Mycenaean world after the destruction of the palaces around 1200 BC. It is clear from the contents of the chamber tombs at Ialysos that the settlement there continued to flourish in the twelfth century BC, perhaps even receiving a new influx of settlers from more disrupted areas of the Mycenaean world.

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More information


C. Mee, Rhodes in the Bronze Age (Warminster, Aris and Philips, 1982)


Height: 9.000 inches

Museum number

GR 1870.10-8.96 (Vases A 932)


Gift of Professor John Ruskin


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