Mycenaean Shield Frieze Fresco, Émile Gilliéron, Père, Square Pillow
This 18 x 18 inch pillow, which shows the same scene on both sides, is made from fabric custom-printed with a Mycenaean Shield Frieze Fresco from 1325-1250 BC, reconstructed as a watercolor by Émile Gilliéron, père, circa 1911. Double-lobed Bronze-Age "figure-of-eight" shields were made to cover nearly the entire body.
To make the pillow, the design is printed onto special paper, and then transferred onto the fabric using heat and pressure. This sublimation process creates a soft, breathable, vibrantly colored material – the pattern becomes part of the fabric, it doesn’t just sit on top of it.
The fabric is pre-shrunk polyester — soft and durable. The pillowcase is machine washable, with a concealed zipper. The resilient polyester filling insert retains its shape, and can be washed by hand. Made in USA.
Gilliéron, père, reconstructed this shield fresco on large watercolor paper (39 1/2 x 32 inches) from over 200 fragments that had been excavated in 1910 from the Mycenaean palace at Tiryns. This rendering was later used by his son, Émile Gilliéron, fils, as a guide for restoring shield frescoes at the Palace of Minos at Knossos, the capital of Minoan Crete, in the Domestic Quarter, where the originals had been mostly destroyed.
For over 30 years Émile Gilliéron, père, worked as chief restorer at the Palace of Minos, alongside his son. They created watercolors and reproductions of masks and weapons to sell, as well as full-size copies of Minoan frescos on watercolor paper and 3-d plaster reconstructions. At one point they had a catalog with 144 items a company in Germany could make for customers.
Their work has been criticized as sometimes inauthentic — they may have added a modern border, for instance, or depicted a boy instead of a monkey. There’s some talk that the Gilliérons were also involved in forgery, possibly were even creators of the well-known Phaistos Disc.
Visit the source pixels of Gilliéron, père's shield reconstruction at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.