The Palaikastro Kouros
This chryselephantine statuette of a young man is a masterpiece of Minoan art. It was made of at least eight pieces, which were pinned together using wooden dowels, now lost. The body, carved from a hippopotamus tooth, is delicately worked to show the anatomical details of the hands and legs. The Minoan zoma (loincloth or kilt), sandals and possibly a bracelet, were all made of gold sheet. The hairpiece is made of serpentinite, and the eyes of rock crystal. The statuette's wooden base, now lost, was covered in 'Egyptian blue' (a kind of glass paste) speckled with tiny gold discs. This figure was deliberately smashed during the pillage and arson of the Palaikastro town shrine (Building 5) in the Late Minoan I period. It is recomposed from hundreds of tiny pieces, which were recovered during three separate excavation campaigns. Made in Crete, this statuette displays strong Egyptian influences in its manufacturing techniques, materials and proportions.