MYCENAEAN ART IN ITS SETTING
C omparison of the tablets has that Mycenean civilazation was one of a number of co-existing civilazations which communicated with each other, and had much in common, while preserving strong local differences. The furniture tablets from Pylos 1 describe inlaid tables, chairs, and footstools of a kind which can be paralleled from Egyptian and Asiatic as well as from Mycenaean sites. Such precious objects were given as presents over the whole Aegean area, as we have seen; and the memory of them lingered in Homer, sometimes as gifts like the boar's tusk helmet 2 or Agamemnon's breastplate,3 and sometimes as possessions like the couch of Penelope4 'inlaid with ivory and silver, with a footstool growing out of it, made by the artist Ikmalios', which provides the clearest analogy to the chairs and footstools in the inventory from Pylos. The decoration of the Pylos chairs and footstools -- helmets, running-spirals, sea-shells, birds, heifers, men, lions, griffins, horse, octopus -- can be paralleled on Mycenaean works of art, but some of the materials, particularly ivory and gold, and two of the themes, lions and griffins, were foreign to the Minoan-Mycenaean world.
Carved and engraved ivories, used for the most part for decorating furniture and boxes, are a good starting-point for a first appreciation of the international character of Mycenaean art. A magnificent set, partly carved in relief, partly engraved plaques (fig. 2), was found at Delos,5 and they are dated by the excavators to the late fourteenth or early thirteenth century. The excavators suggest that they come from a throne, which will then have been made a little earlier than those recorded on the Pylos tablets, and a little later than the couch from Ugarit, noted in the preceding chapter. The carvings include a warrior equipped with boar's tusk____________________