Our replica Minoan Snake Goddess is part of our Classics Centre collection.
These figurines, depicting a woman holding a snake in each hand, were found in Minoan archaeological sites in Crete. The first two of such figurines (both incomplete) were found by the British archaeologist Arthur Evans and date to the neo-palatial period of Minoan civilization, ca. 1700–1450 BC. Evans called the larger of his pair of figurines a "Snake Goddess", the smaller a "Snake Priestess"; since then, it has been debated whether Evans was right, or whether both figurines depicts priestesses, or both depict the same deity or different deities.
The figurines were found only in house sanctuaries, where the figurine appears as "the goddess of the household". They are made of faience, a technique for glazing earthenware and other ceramic vessels by using a quartz paste. This material symbolized in old Egypt the renewal of life, therefore it was used in the funeral cult and in the sanctuaries. After firing this produces bright colors and a lustrous sheen. It is possible that they illustrate the fashion of dress of Minoan women: a tight bodice which left the breasts bare, a long flounced skirt, and an apron made of material with embroidered or woven decoration.