N.inv. Pigorini/ Serie W
The flat-based nodule 71974 bears a seal impression representing a “Bull-Leaping” (Alberti et alii 2013,11).
It is not inscribed.
This flat-based nodule was discovered in the North-West Quarter, between the Room 13, also known as “Stanza dei Sigilli”, and the Portico 11, like most of the cretulae probably fallen from the upper floor, which collapsed in the fire that destroyed the Villa (Halbherr 1903, 30; Levi 1925, 73; for the provenance of administrative documents See Militello 1988, 1992, 2001, 2011).
Measures 2.5 cm x 1.7 cm x 0.9 cm.
The seal impression HT 145 recurs only once. (Del Freo 2002-2003,67).
The motif represents a bull at the Flying gallop and an athlete, caught in the dive after the vault (Levi 1925-1926, 101; Younger 1976, 131; Younger 1984, 56). The motif of the bull-leaping can be depicted through different schemas, such as the “Evans’s Schema”, widespread on Crete in the LM IB, the “Diving Leaper Schema”, common both on Crete and the Continent, from LM IB until the fall of Cnossos, and the “Floating Schema”, popular mainly on the Continent from LH IIIB. Nonetheless, The impression from the Pigorini Museum is difficult to be linked to one specific schema, because of the athlete’s position, and it takes part of a sub-category known as “Alighting Leapers”.
As regards the bull-leaping, because of the high-value items on which is it depicted, it made scholars suppose that it was a way for the aristocracy to flaunt its status, prevailing on the animal word with strength and shrewdness (Marinatos 1994,93; Morgan 1998,18). In Evans’s opinion, the bull-leaping might have a religious meaning, performed, maybe, for a Mother Goddess (Lapatin 2000, 26) or a bull cult (Thompson 1992, 163); on the other hand, other scholars consider it not a real activity, but a dramatization of constellations (MacGillivray 2000, 54-55).
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