The permanent exhibition of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Cauldron with griffin heads
This important example of Cretan pottery of the Orientalizing period imitates a metal vessel. It is a cauldron with deep rounded body and three plastic handles in the shape of griffins, placed symmetrically on the shoulder. The elaborate painted decoration consists of a row of concentric circles near the base and of a series of metopes divided by triglyphs along the upper part of the body. The three larger metopes contain the plastic griffins and other painted motifs, while each of the three smaller ones has a different scene: a seated sphinx with diadem and collar, a seated lion, and two pairs of birds facing one another atop decorative bands separated by stylized rosettes. The cauldron belongs to an important group of terracotta vessels with plastic griffin busts, dating to the seventh century BC. Similar vessels were found in Gortyna and Knossos.