Terracotta one-handled kantharos (drinking cup)

Attributed to the Class of the One-handled Kantharoi

Period: Archaic

Date: ca. 500 B.C.

Culture: Greek, Attic

Medium: Terracotta; black-figure

Dimensions: H. 11 7/16 in. (29 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1963

Accession Number: 63.11.4


Of the painted scenes that have to do with wine, the most representative are, naturally enough, scenes of the Greek symposium. Such a symposium is depicted in full swing around the body of this black-figure kantharos (drinking cup). In the men's quarters of a Greek house, nine symposiasts bedecked in wreaths recline on couches. In front of them are low tables laden with goods, typically pieces of meat and confectionery.
The painter of this one-handled kantharos deliberately emphasized the drinking, music making, and merriment of this type of gathering. The participants hold various drinking cups and converse with lively gestures. Two men hold kylikes (shallow drinking cups), one holds a drinking horn, and another drinks from a one-handled kantharos. The drinking vessels would have been filled by the cupbearers, usually young boys. A flute player provides entertainment, and one guest joins in by strumming a lyre.