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Kylix (Drinking Cup)

A work made of terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique.


530-520 BCE


Attributed to the Workshop of Nikosthenes
Greek; Athens

About this artwork

This vase honors Dionysos as the god of both wine and the theater. When the drinker raised the cup to his mouth, it doubled almost as a theatrical mask, with the handles serving as ears and the circular hollow representing a mouth. The round, wide eyes staring back at the viewer symbolize the intoxicating effects of the drink, the wine god’s gaze, or both. Drinking vessels decorated in this manner are called eye cups.
Sometimes a nose appeared between the eyes, but the painter of this cup drew boxers, perhaps to celebrate the winner of a local match.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151


Ancient Greek


Kylix (Drinking Cup)


530 BCE–520 BCE


terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique


11.1 cm (4 3/8 in.) × 31.1 cm (12 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous loan

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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