Stone vase shaped like a flower

Minoan, about 1700-1450 BC
From Crete

The 'blossom bowl', a Minoan speciality

The stone carvers of Minoan Crete made a range of elaborate vases in many different decorative stones. Their technique may have been partly learned from the Cyclades where marble vases had been made throughout the Early Bronze Age (about 3200-2000 BC). The Cretan stone carvers were perhaps also influenced by the variety of stone vessels produced in Egypt, some of which reached Cretan shores.

This vessel is carved from serpentine, a native stone with a decorative surface when polished. The six-petalled form has earned the name 'blossom bowl' for such vases.

The Cretan mastery over stone as a medium is shown both by the production of stone vases and the accomplished carving of small seal-stones. However, in contrast to practice in neighbouring lands, large-scale stone sculptures seem not to have been made: Minoan Crete is unusual in that there is no evidence of an iconography that obviously celebrates or exaggerates the power of kings or rulers.

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More information


R. Higgins, Minoan and Mycenean art-1, revised edition (London, 1979)

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


Diameter: 24.000 cm

Museum number

GR 1914.3-21.1



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