Seller: joslinhall (7,696) 100% , Location: Northampton, Massachusetts, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 162301117855 "Mysteries of the Snake Goddess. Art, Desire and the Forgery of History" By Kenneth Lapatin. Published in Boston by Houghton Mifflin in 2002. description continues below the picture- - - - DISCUSSION: "Not only is one of the most famous pieces of ancient Greek art-the celebrated gold and ivory statuette of the Minoan Snake Goddess at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston-almost certainly a modern fake, but Minoan civilization as it has been popularly imagined is largely an invention of the early 20th century. This is Kenneth Lapatin's conclusion in this investigation into the origins of the celebrated artifact. Lapatin's book also examines the world of archaeologists, adventurers, and artisans that converged in Crete at the turn of the 20th century". In her paper "Breathing New Life Into Old Art: The Minoan Snake Goddess Meets the Internet", Drury University's Melissa Benne notes- "Just last year, Kenneth Lapatin, president of the Boston society of the Archaeological Institute of America, wrote a book called Mysteries of the Snake Goddess. While his work had been going on for several years, mainly concerning Cretan images in general, he became intrigued by the recently growing popularity of Minoan Snake Goddess. In this book, Lapatin explores the personage of Sir Arthur Evans, the methods involved in his excavations, and the general way of thinking in the early 1900s in respect to the Snake Goddess. His study focuses on a sister figure to the little Snake Goddess. She is known as the Boston Snake Goddess because she has been housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 1914, several years after Evans’s find in Knossos. Although there are many similarities to the 1903 goddess, Evans does not lay claim to this figure; her locator and the date she was unearthed are a mystery. Immediately upon her arrival through a third party from an unknown originator, museum officials showered her with praise. Curators and enthusiasts noted her “keen expression” and her “delicate high-bred beauty.” They said she was “rendered with a freedom and a naturalness that are exceptional,” and that she “shows all the distinguishing features of Cretan art at its best.” "However, the ivory and gold Boston goddess has what many have called a “modern face,” in which the carving seems styled in such a way that was pleasing to early twentieth century people, not as the ancients had done. In addition, her bared breasts have a distinguishing feature; there are golden nails for nipples, further emphasizing them. Lapatin goes on to use Evans’s notes, museum documents, and scientific tests to suggest strongly that the Boston Snake Goddess is a fake. Moreover, he suggests that most of the sculptures of the Snake Goddess are fake, created by Evans’s own team of artists and craftsmen in a workshop at Knossos to ensure Evans’s fame and to meet the demand of ancient great goddess relics. "Interestingly, Lapatin considers the little Snake Goddess figure originally found in the Temple Repository and the fragments of the four found with her, to be overly restored but genuine. According to him, they may possibly be the only genuine Snake Goddess figures in museums today. Within three months of her presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, scholars started questioning the Boston goddess’s authenticity. However, little interest in those theories generated and her supporters often explained away discrepancies. It was not until the twenty-first century, when public interest reached a higher level, that such a landmark book could become popular outside of academia. After all of Lapatin’s work, one of his colleagues suggested that it did not matter if the goddess was a fake. It may also not matter if she holds two Viper Asps, that she may be the Maiden figure in a Maiden, Mother, and Crone trinity, or if she is symbolic of fearlessness and women’s struggles for justice and equality. It may not matter if she represents the way the exposure of women’s open sexuality changes the way she is perceived or if she promoted the opium trade. She may be authentic and she may not be, as her sister figure the Boston Snake Goddess is most likely not. "Yet it all is irrelevant when one considers the influence this piece has had in ancient studies and modern thinking. Lapatin believes, “She isn't the find Sir Arthur Evans, the excavator of Knossos, and others thought she was. However, she has provided a canvas on which archeologists and curators, looters and smugglers, dealers and forgers, art patrons and museum-goers, feminists and spiritualists, have painted their preconceptions, desires, and preoccupations for an idealized past." As Lapatin’s colleague neatly phrased it, “She has introduced generations…to the glories of Minoan civilization." DESCRIPTION and CONDITION NOTES: Hardcover. 5.75"x8.5", 274 pages, black & white illustrations, dust jacket. Fine, clean condition. - - - - - - OVERSEAS BUYERS PLEASE NOTE: Our International shipping charges are based on the weight, when boxed for shipping, of each book -please check the postage chart for the cost of shipping to your country. 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