Pyxis with representation of guitar player [Π 2308]
Clay pyxis with flat base, cylindrical body and inverted, rounded rim; on upper body are set two vertical and two horizontal alternately opposing strap handles. On body lavish painted decoration arranged in two panels filled with various classic Minoan patterns such as: horns of concentration, double axes, birds, crosshatched pattern, multiple zigzags, wavy lines, lilies and multiple arcs. On the main side is represented a pictorial musical scene: a frontal, standing figure with the head facing left wears a sleeveless chiton (type of garment); with one hand holds a branch and with the other a seven-stringed musical instrument (kithara or kitharis according to Homer). On the instrument’s upper body two protrusions possibly represent pipes that channeled the sound from the sound hole. The subject of musical scenes with guitar players is also known from other examples in the Cretan/Mycenaean world and is usually interpreted as representation of a religious ritual. The pyxis’ burial finding context links the scene with a funerary ritual. A close association of music with religion and burial customs is well-known in Prehistory. The guitar player may be interpreted either as a deity (Apollo or Orpheus), thus the scene is religious, or as an epic poet (aoidos) implying an epic scene. It may even represent a priest in a musical ceremony dedicated to the dead or a musical ritual for evoking chthonian deities, thus a funerary scene. The vessel represents the most well-known example of the “Kydonia Workshop”. Late Minoan IIIB (ca. 1300-1250 BC).