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Mastoid (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.


about 500/480 BCE


Attributed to the Caylus Painter
Greek; Athens

About this artwork

This cup was shaped to fit easily in the dirnkers 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, in a continous scene that could be read much like today’s comic strips, the god of wine Dionysos (seated) is accompanied by his half man half goat followers called satyrs, identifiable by their thick beards and long tails, as well as one of his famle follower, a maenad. She is depicted dancing and the artist has rendered her with white glazed skin and a wide eyed expression.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art


Caylus Painter


Mastoid (Drinking Cup)




500 BCE–480 BCE


terracotta, decorated in the black-figure technique


8.3 × 10.5 × 10.5 cm (3 1/4 × 4 1/8 × 4 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Philip D. Armour and Charles L. Hutchinson

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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