The Presentation Scene on the Ivory Pyxis Lid from Mochlos: A Reconstruction and Reinterpretation | October 2023 (127.4)


This article presents evidence for a new reconstruction of the presentation scene portrayed on the Late Bronze Age ivory pyxis excavated at Mochlos. Previously undetected locks of hair, anatomical parts, dress, and attributes facilitate a recreation of the figures. It argues against Soles’ assertion that the goddess holds a lily to crown the shorter male as king and that the leading male is a hero or god based on imagery on the Ur III cylinder of Gudea. It finds instead that the goddess holds an olive branch, and the composition echoes the iconography in Old Syrian paintings and glyptic, including on one seal that was actually found at Mochlos. Supported by iconographic and textual evidence, this study proposes that the ritual, adopted and adapted from the Near East, depicts a Minoan ruler offering a vessel to the goddess for her blessing over the couple, possibly marking a dynastic marriage, and that the pyxis and jewelry found within it were bridal gifts.

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