Limestone reliefs of panthers and sculptures of seated females wearing poloi, possibly forming the lintel of Building (‘Temple’) A at Prinias. Near Eastern and Egyptian stylistic influences can be discerned in the work. Archaic period, 7th c. BCE.
The foundation of the Greek trading colony of Naukratis in Egypt before 630 BCE brought the Greeks into direct contact with the monumental stone architecture of the Egyptians. Not long after that, construction began in Greece of the first stone buildings since the fall of the Mycenaean kingdoms. At Prinias on Crete, for example, the Greeks built a stone temple, called Temple A, around 625 BCE to honor an unknown deity.
Temple A at Prinias is the earliest known example of a Greek temple with sculptured decoration. Above the doorway was a huge limestone lintel with a relief rieze of Orientalizing panthers with frontal heads -the same motif as that on the contemporary Corinthian black-figure amphora, underscoring the stylistic unity of Greek art at this time.
-Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Volume I, page 91.
Photos courtesy & taken by Dan Diffendale.