Extremely Rare Minoan Ostrich Egg Rhyton, 16th Century BC
This is an extremely rare example of a painted ostrich eggshell belonging to the Minoan (2000-1500 BC) or Mycenaean (1600-1100 BC) civilizations. It’s beautifully decorated with depictions of two giant octopi in red paint.
Ostrich eggshells have been discovered on a number of Greek sites, for instance, in Mycenaean levels at Mycenae and Minoan levels at Knossos on Crete. Eggshells are known in contemporary ancient Egyptian, Levantine and Mesopotamian civilizations and in the millennium that followed in Etruscan and Phoenician society. They are frequently discovered amongst high prestige grave goods and were traded widely and this explains their broad geographical spread in the Greek Bronze Age.