About this artwork
This cup was shaped to fit easily in the drinkers hand, and was likely used as part of the Greek symposium. Much like modern academic symposiums, in which people discuss a topic of common interest, debunking old theories and putting forth new hypotheses; the men of ancient Athens regularly got together in private homes to exchange ideas. Afterward the participants might continue the conversation, discussing their impressions in greater detail or simply socializing over a drink. As the evening progressed, participants engaged in other pleasures, including games, performances, and sex. Wine played a major role in fueling these evenings, and as such the myriad vessels used in the symposium often paid homage to drink.
Here, the god of wine Dionysos rides astride a donkey. Before and behind him satyrs - the gods half man half goat companions - are visually aroused by the scene; while a Maenad - their female counterpart - leads the procession while strumming a lyre. The background of this scene is decorated with winding vines, enforcing the themes of wine, revelry and music.
Currently Off View
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Leafless Group
- Mastoid (Drinking Cup)
- Made 500 BCE–480 BCE
- terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique
- 9.2 × 10.8 × 10.8 cm (3 5/8 × 4 1/4 × 4 1/4 in.)
- Gift of Philip D. Armour and Charles L. Hutchinson