RUINS

Bull Leaping Fresco

Bull leaping fresco
This is a fresco from the plaster walls of a Minoan palace at Knossos, Crete. Crete was home to the Minoans before Greece was formed. Bulls seemed to be sacred to the Minoans, as they were highly prized and uses in many religious rites and sacrifices. Depicted here is the bull leaping ritual, which would have likely taken place in large palace courtyards. The acrobatic feat is done by grabbing the bull by the horns and somersaulting mid-air as the bull jerks them over its back. The differing skintones may indicate gender in this piece, which is a convention borrowed from Egypt. Men are indicated by reddish skin, as they are suntanned from working outdoors, and women are portrayed as pale white, as they were often relegated to household duties. Both genders were allowed to participate in this ritual, signalling that women were not strictly prohibited from physical and religious activities.
Photo credit / Ekdotike Athenon S.A. National Geographic