Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Minoan larnax in New York

In 2002 the Michael J. Carlos Museum acquired a Minoan larnax. Its full collecting history has not been disclosed. Then in 2006 or 2007 Houston's Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) received a larnax as a gift from Shelby White. Its full collecting history has yet to be revealed.

However these two larnakes were preceded by the anonymous gift of a LMIIIB example "in memory of Nicolas and Mireille Koutoulakis" to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 1996.521a,b). Koutoulakis, it will be remembered, appeared in the infamous "organigram" that featured in the "Medici Conspiracy".

So what is the full collecting history of the New York larnax? Who was the anonymous donor? When was the larnax removed from its (supposed) funerary context on Crete?

A further larnax to note here is the ex-Borowski example in Bible Lands Museums in Jerusalem (inv. 4738; Glories of Ancient Greece no. 20) [noted]. It is close (as the catalogue makes clear) to an east Cretan example in the Ayios Nikolaos Museum (inv. 282; Im Labyrinth des Minos no. 260). What is the full collecting of the Borowski larnax?

Further reading
Bernheimer, G. M. 2001. Glories of ancient Greece: vases and jewelry from the Borowski collection. Jerusalem: Bible Lands Museum.
Watrous, L. V. 1991. "The Origin and Iconography of the Late Minoan Painted Larnax." Hesperia 60: 285-307. [JSTOR]

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