Bull jump

Bull jump
Bull jump

Originally, this striking fresco painting on a plaster surface was located in one of the courtyards of the great Palace of Knossos, specifically in the so-called Caño de Piedra courtyard. There it would take place between 1550 and 1450 BC, in one of the moments of maximum splendor of the Cretan or Minoan civilization. Although they are currently kept in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum on the Greek island of Crete.


Bull jump

It has always been speculated that it would be in Crete and in the times of this Minoan culture when bullfighting would really begin, and that is due to works like this that reflect the practice of "bull jump" like other manifestations of the time remind us of the cult of the minotaur.

It is known that these jumping competitions over cattle, as well as other bullfighting competitions, were held in the courtyards of the Palace of Knossos. But these were not just tournaments of skill and bravery, since they were actually celebrations with a religious background and were part of the Minoan rituals.

In this case it seems that the fresco painting reflects the three phases of the jump itself. An initial moment in which the jumper grabs the bull by the horns or uses them to propel himself. And then we see him flying over the animal and turning on his back, to finally land on his feet on his back.Kind of like being a gymnast or a circus performer. It is clear that many doubt that such a feat was done in such a way, but it is also true that there are still competitions in the bullring where similar stunts are performed.

As for the pictorial style of the fresco, it reflects a large part of the usual characteristics of Cretan art. One of them is the stylization of the figures. A figure dominated by curves which gives a clear rhythm to the image, and where it is most appreciated is in the arched body of the central character who jumps over the bull.

The three figures have very narrow waists which gives them grace and links them with other representations of the time, both pictorial and sculptural, such is the case of the representations of the Goddess of the snakes.

That curvy and decorative spirit can also be seen in the figure of the huge bull, which is certainly disproportionate to humans. Unless they are children, as some interpretations affirm, saying that men generally painted themselves brown and women white, but here we see that they wear white although with masculine clothes, so there are scholars who think that they are It is about the representation of some infantile initiation ritual.

Be it one way or another, what remains clear is the antiquity of the use of bulls for religious and recreational purposes. And of course the most obvious thing is the quality of this work that draws attention for its dynamism, its characterornamental and for the curious combination of colors.

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