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Bronze group of a bull and acrobat
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Тhis solid cast Minoan bronze depicts an acrobat somersaulting over a bull's head to land with both feet on its back. The arms and legs end in stumps; it is not clear whether this was by design or because the bronze did not flow into the extremities of the mould. Minoan bronzes tend to be low in tin, which meant the alloy did not flow well, and also gives a characteristic bubbly surface.

Bull jumping is frequently shown in Minoan art, and probably formed a part of ritual activity. It seems highly unlikely that such leaps could be made, due to the unpredictability of a bull's movements. Perhaps in reality the bulls were restrained or even tamed. It is probable that the Minoans put considerable effort and long experience into the sport, and were able to achieve dramatic effects. Even so, the possibility of some artistic licence should not be discounted.

Bronze group of a bull and acrobat


From Crete, c. 1700-1450 BC
Ht 11.4 cm
Spencer Churchill Collection




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