The permanent exhibition of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum
The Agia Triada sarcophagus
This unique sarcophagus was found in Agia Triada, inside a grave containing the inhumation of a prince. It is covered in plaster and painted in fresco with scenes of great importance for our understanding of funerary customs during the Mycenaean occupation of Crete. One of the long sides is divided into three panels: one depicts a female procession, the other a bull sacrifice accompanied by music and the third one a man making offerings to an altar in front of a shrine crowned with horns of consecration and a sacred tree. The second long side of the sarcophagus is divided into two parts: on the left, a procession of men and women between columns topped by double axes and birds, and on the right, a procession of male figures in animal hides offering animals and a boat to the deified deceased. Each of the short sides depicts two women on a chariot pulled by a horse and a griffin respectively. This exquisite piece is distinguished by the liveliness of the colours and variety of the figures.