Not in Knossos anymore: ”Minoan” Frescoes from Tell el-Dabca, Some Interpretative Issues on Diplomatic Encounter
Uroš Matić in Marta Hlad (ed.),STARCO III: Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam, Travellling, Communicating and Trading in The Past, Ljubljana: Študentsko arheološko društvo, 2011: 51-60.
Περίληψη (στα Αγγλικά)
‘Minoan’ frescoes from the Egyptian palatial complex at Tell el Dabca have raised many questions regarding the nature and complexity of Egypt-Aegean interrelations. Different dating of the frescoes produced different interpretations of contacts between the Ancient Egyptian court and Cretan polities. They were painted and after a short period they fell from the interior walls of palaces F and G, to be dumped in the vicinity of the palaces, never to be restored again. There are several key interpretations behind the frescoes, which will be critically re-examined in this paper: diplomatic marriage/‘Minoan’ princess at the Egyptian court, ‘international’ style/artist/gift exchange and diplomatic meeting. I will argue that according to available data about foreign princesses at the Egyptian New Kingdom court there are no grounds to see these frescoes as a proof of a dynastic marriage. Their uniqueness was already stressed by several authors in order to discredit the idea of an ‘international’ style, arguing that not everyone could have owned them in the Eastern Mediterranean. Diplomatic meeting is usually offered as an explanation in connection to highest resemblance to Knossos frescoes and representations of Keftiu emissaries in Theban XVIII dynasty tombs. However, several authors stressed the problem of missing Egyptian iconography on the frescoes, which is so far considered to be very unusual in Egyptian palaces. What I would like to consider here is that they were painted during the reign of Hatshepsut and that when perceived from the context of her reign, there is nothing ‘queer’ about them, nor their iconography.