Bull-leaping ('taurokathapsia') is a motif of Middle Bronze Age figurative art, notably of Minoan Crete, but also found in Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley. It is often interpreted as a depiction of a ritual performed in connection with bull worship and it might even be that bull-leaping was a rite of passage for young men in Minoan culture.

The original stucco fresco is almost 80cm high and dates to ca 1600-1500BC. It was found on a wall on the east side of the palace of Minos in Knossos, in the courtyard of the stone mouth. The ensemble as a whole is two-dimensional, except for the strong lines in the woman's chests, legs and thighs, which reflect the artist's attempt to deliver volume and depth, a rare attempt for this period. It is on display at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

On an Egyptian blue background, the bull dominates the composition, suspended in the air, to convey its aggressive movement. Either side of the bull is a woman, one of whom holds the bull's horns and the other holds out her arms, while a man somersaults on the bull's back. Both sexes are in the same costume (probably because a more complex garment could get tangled up in the bull's horns) and they are differentiated by differences in the anatomy and colour used for their skin (the man is in red ochre, the women white).

Made for us in Greece, our collection of ceramic wall-tiles are painted by hand, so there may be a slight variation in colour from piece to piece. In order to make them look as close to the original as possible, many of the tiles have a 'craquelure' effect, to replicate the fine pattern of "cracking" formed on the surface of paintings, in particular due to the ageing of paints and pigments. Should you wish to put these tiles in a bathroom or garden, we recommend that you apply a coat of transparent PVA sealant to protect them from rain and frost. They are supplied ready to hang, with a sturdy, embedded metal strip or, if preferred, they can be incorporated as features within a tiled wall.

dimensions etc Length: 24cm Height: 12cm

Minoan bull-leaping fresco tile (small)

  • Code: MM-086
  • Status: In Stock
  • £40.00

  • excl tax: £33.33