Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece, c. 1500 BC

Gold rings from Crete and Myceneae

Late Minoan I, Mochlos, Crete | Mycenaean civilisation, southern Greece

Perhaps it is difficult to depict a pomegranate tree unambiguously on a tiny funerary ring, unless you stylize it a bit.

'Trees growing out of shrines on Minoan rings,' said Miranda. 'This one is on a boat.'

minoan drama scene

Seager, Richard B, 1911. Explorations in the Island of Mochlos. Figure 52, opposite p 90. Gold Signet Ring from a Late Minoan I Interment.

'Here's another one,' replied Quintin. 'It seems to depict a scene from a drama. Perhaps one of the Mycenaean religious stories, like an early Greek myth. Someone like Achilles is bending a tree out of its shrine. But instead of leaves and branches it has footballs with peas stuck all over them. What sort of a tree looks like that?'

minoan drama scene

Mycenaean signet ring.

'Perhaps a stylized one,' said Miranda, thoughtfully. 'But what if it's important to show a particular sort of tree. Say a pomegranate tree. Difficult to do that on a tiny ring, so you'd have to improvise a bit. How would you do that? What are its salient features? Big round fruit and lots of little seeds. So that's what you need to show. Maybe that's all you need to show. No use keeping the seeds inside the fruit where they can't be seen. So enlarge the important feature of the tree, which is the fruit, bring out the really important things that are hidden, which are the pomegranate seeds, and you end up with a tree that looks like it's made of footballs covered in peas.'

pomegranate shapes

See for yourself

Ring of Mochlos, Late Minoan I – Richard B Seager, 1911. Explorations in the Island of Mochlos, pp 89–91. Original excavation report.

Minoan Civilisation – Wikipedia

Mycenaean Greece – Wikipedia

Pomegranate – Wikipedia

Apples and pomegranates

East London Line

halved pomegranates
apple blossom

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