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Chous (Toy Pitcher)

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

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


400-380 BCE


Greek; Athens

About this artwork

Toward the end of the 5th century BCE, Athenian potters and painters created a large number of miniature oinochoai (sing. oinochoe), or pitchers, decorated with children at play or imitating adults. It is thought that they were given to the youngest members of the family during the Anthesteria, a three-day celebration of the new vintage of wine and the arrival of spring. These little vessels are called choes (sing. chous), which means libations, after the name of the second day of the festival. Children took part in the festival but did not imbibe wine. On this example, a small white water bird has captured the unwanted attention of two naked toddlers. The boy on the left extends his toy pitcher toward it, while his companion bends over to touch it.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Greek


Chous (Toy Pitcher)




400 BCE–380 BCE


terracotta, decorated in the red-figure technique


8.9 × 6.5 × 6.5 cm (3.51 × 2.57 × 2.56 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson through The Antiquarian Society

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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