Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2014

26 December 2014

Minoan Cushion Seals. Innovation in Form, Style, and Use in Bronze Age Glyptic.

Giulia Dionisio, Anna Margherita Jasink & Judith Weingarten

Minoan Cushion Seals. Innovation in Form, Style, and Use in Bronze Age Glyptic.

City: Rome

Year: 2014

Publisher: L'Erma di Bretschneider

Series: Studia Archaeologica 196

Description: Paperback, 280 p., 24x17 cm


This book is about a single Minoan seal shape, the cushion seal – a rectangular stone with biconvex faces — so called because its profile resembles a cushion. This shape is specific to Minoan culture. The first securely-dated cushions appear in Middle Minoan IIB but its floruit is Middle Minoan III-Late Minoan IA, after which it essentially dies out. While, in its early days, the materials, style, and motifs were similar to those of other seal shapes, it later developed a recognizable, perhaps semi-independent style and iconography of its own. Some of the finest examples of Minoan glyptic art appear on cushions. Who crafted them? Had they any special meaning? Why did the shape so abruptly disppear? This book is the first to examine all aspects of cushion seals and to compare them with other contemporary forms of glyptic art. It aims to cast new light on style and form at the transition from the Protopalatial to early Neopalatial period on Crete.




1. Organisation of the study
2. Origin and development of the cushion shape
3. Distribution and dating (Maps I-IV)
4. Terminology

Chapter I

1. Materials and colours (Tables I 1-2)
2. Manufacturing techniques
3. Cushions with two engraved faces (Table I 3; Images I 1)
4. Cushions in vertical orientation (Table I 4; Images I 2)

Chapter II: Decorative and ornamental iconography (Table II 1; Images II 1-3)

1. Architectonic and related motifs
2. Concentric circles with central dot
3. Geometric motifs

Chapter III: Scribal (Hieroglyphic) and post-scribal (talismanic) signs and motifs

1. Hieroglyphic script (Images III 1)
2. Talismanic and related motifs ((Table III 1; Images III 2)

Chapter IV: Figurative Iconography (Table IV 1; Images IV 1-3)

1. Animals: Sea creatures
2. Human figures with animals
3. Human figures alone

Chapter V: Cushion seals in metal (Images V 1)

Chapter VI: Seal impressions stamped by cushion seals (Images VI 1)

Chapter VII

1. Stylistic groups and workshops

Chapter VIII


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