Large-Scale Animals and Composite Beings - The Wall Paintings of Tell el-Dab'a

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Large-Scale Animals and Composite Beings

Johannes Jungfleisch, Constance von Rüden and Johannes Becker

Beside the depiction of animals in small-scale within the hunt scenes of ‘Palace F’, approximately life-size animals can be identified on other fragments of the same context. The study of these fragments has been started during the spring season 2012 with the discovery of a life-size bull (1). One of the fragments shows a section of its skin with black spots, typical for a bull hide. On further pieces blood dripping over its skin has been depicted, which speaks for the identification of an animal fight. The study of additional fragments of this group sheds further light on this composition. The head of a lion with its paw right next to his mouth can be considered as a lion in attack and therefore it is highly possible that this is the predator attacking the bleeding bull.
A publication of selected pieces of this composition is projected for 2013. Furthermore at least one large-scale griffin (2) - in its size and wealth of detail comparable to the well known griffins from Xeste 3 in Thera and the Throne Room of the Palace of Knossos – and a leopard could be identified. The interrelation of these animals is not yet fully clear but at least the bull and the lion were most likely part of an exceptional wall-filling animal fight, which is - with the exception of a not yet fully published painting from Room 2 of Xeste 3 at Akrotiri (3) - so far unknown from Aegean wall paintings.
(1) Becker, Jungfleisch & von Rüden 2012/2013.
(2) Bietak & Palyvou 2000.
(3) Vlachopoulos 2008, 451 Fig. 41.7. 41.8.

Fragment of Bull Hide with Black Spots
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