Monday, August 6, 2007

Snake Goddess, Fake Goddess




Now you know this gorgeous ivory thing (directly above) is a fake, don't you? Yep, it is. Read all about it in Kenneth Lapatin's book "Mysteries of the Snake Goddess" (DeCapo Press, 2002). It is based on the larger faience "Snake Handler/Goddess" (at top) from the Temple repositories excavated by Arthur Evans at Knossos. Evans thought that one of his workmen must have snaffled this exceptionally fabulous chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statuette out of the site before he'd seen it, but in fact it is a clever forgery mixing exotic imported materials with the shape of the bare-breasted faience version - a highly desirable combination, if it was authentic. The faience Snake Goddesses (above and below in the previous post) are also not entirely authentic. Both are restored, particularly the smaller one, below. So what you see isn't necessarily what the Minoans saw. It is even questionable whether the smaller one *is* holding snakes, as one "snake" had a head added to it and the other was entirely added. In addition, no snakes have candy-cane stripes. One author suggested the smaller figure held twine, rather than snakes, which reminds me of Ariadne's thread.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

you have such interesting posts Caroline.
Fascinating stuff, I will call back often......
Lisa x

Caroline Tully said...

Thanks Lisa, its nice to know that you think my posts are interesting. I do try and be interesting, and I am aware that some of the things I post may be controversial, ie/ saying the Ivory Snake Goddess is a forgery for example. But information like that is just as controversial to me - who is steeped in the Goddess Movement - as much as it might be to others who are also in this movement.

Labrys said...

I had read that the sweet little figure was faked. It rather broke my little pagan heart, since I have simply adored that image since I first saw it when I was about 12! I still own a cheapo copy and refuse to give it up since even knowing that the working model was fake doesn't eliminate its grace and sense of wonder. Some things, regardless of origin or historical authenticity just speak to the part of the brain that cares less for documentation and more for effect, you know? It is a part of the mystery that we explore, I think.

david johnson said...

You are a fake, my dear. The statuettes are genuine, albeit reconstructed and in small areas replaced. I'm afraid your sources were a little quick on the draw and have been proven wrong over time.