Curator‘s Comments

This elegant wine cup, or kylix, is decorated on the back with drinking scenes. One vignette features half-animal, half-human satyrs (companions to Dionysus, the god of wine). The reclining satyr holds another kind of cup, a skyphos; another satyr brings a wineskin to refill it. Opposite them, human revelers scoop wine—mixed in typical Greek fashion with water in a large krater—into skyphoi and a horn-shaped rhyton. The circular field in the cup’s interior shows a young athlete holding a discus. The inscription, written backwards, reads kalos, or “beautiful.” Two inscriptions on the exterior read “the boy is beautiful.” Vessels such as this were often made to honor athletes rather than for more functional purposes. Athletes, like heroes, were admired in Greek society and their images are often found on vases and pottery.


Nikosthenes Painter. Greek, Athenian, c. 520 B.C.E.

Kylix, n.d.

Glazed terra cotta, red figure


ID Number: SC 1955:45