octopus jar



Minoan Octopus Jar.

These kind of stirrup jars, designed not to spill and easy to carry, transported oil and wine throughout the Mediterranean during Mycenaean period.  The shape of this stirrup jar and its octopus decoration show the importance of the sea as a way of communication and as a source of food and wealth. This terracotta jar can be admired at Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York.

I was satisfied with haiku until I met you,
jar of octopus, cuckoo’s cry, 5-7-5,
but now I want a Russian novel,
a 50-page description of you sleeping,
another 75 of what you think staring out
a window. I don’t care about the plot
although I suppose there will have to be one,
the usual separation of the lovers, turbulent
seas, danger of decommission in spite
of constant war, time in gulps and glitches
passing, squibs of threnody, a fallen nest,
speckled eggs somehow uncrushed, the sled
outracing the wolves on the steppes, the huge
glittering ball where all that matters
is a kiss at the end of a dark hall.
At dawn the officers ride back to the garrison,
one without a glove, the entire last chapter
about a necklace that couldn’t be worn
inherited by a great-niece
along with the love letters bound in silk.
—  Dean Young, Changing Genres

タコのすごい能力!- The terrible ability of the octopus! (by EnosuiMovie)

But how did they get the octopus into the jar? #mysteries

Minoan Octopus Jar

Minoan art is my favorite pre-historic art because it still shows the primitive side of man, but also the artistic, imaginative, joyous side of man. There are no depictions of war or violence. Minoan art was pretty much art for art’s sake. It just comes to show that our primitive roots weren’t always savage and barbaric. 

Octopus Jar – Palaikastro, 1500 – 1450 BC

11” tall, marine style – marine subject matter – octopus and coral/sea urchins; dark figure on light background (earlier was dark with light decoration). Pilgrim flask/stirrup jar shape, used to hold liquid – wine, water, oil. Narrow neck, stirrup handles – wouldn’t spill, could be tied from stirrups, useful for longer journeys.