Drinking cup (kylix)
Greek, South Italian
about 320–300 B.C.
Place of Manufacture: Italy, Paestum
Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 144a.
4.4 cm (1 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Ceramic, Gnathian Ware
Not On View
Shape: Flaring ring foot with a deep groove around the lower part. The handles have flaring “shoulders” and roll back slightly at the ends.
A wreath with berries circles the inside of the rim. The leaves are modulated from white at their base to orange at their tips. The berries vary from orange to white, and the stem is incised.
The decorative scheme resembles that of the Apulian Red Swan Group,but the tondo is vacant, and the gracefully drawn leaves have blunt tips that curl outward (unlike the conventional laurel seen in the Red Swan Group). The glaze is poorer than the glossy black of the Apulian fabric.
The same wreath appears in added color on the exterior of two bolsals in the Naples Museum, CVA Naples, Museo Nazionale 3, pl. 63, nos. 10, 13. Leaves that curl outward as these do alternate with conventional laurel leaves on the shoulders of Campanian and Paestan red-figure vases, such as a Paestan amphora in Boston, cat. no. 105; Trendall, LCS, pp.322-323 (no. 711, pl. 126, 6), 397 (no. 262, pl. 154, 3-4), 430 (no. 495, pl. 171, 2); Trendall, RVP, nos. 2/135 (pl. 57a), 2/1004 (pl. 158), 2/1028 (pl. 164a, 2/1025 (pl. 164b), 2/1036 (pl.165a), 3/40 (pl. 173d) These composite wreaths seem to have been executed regularly in superposed color, as here. The closest parallels, however, seem to be the wreaths around the tondos of late Paestan kylikes by the Painters of Naples 1778 and Naples 2585. In these wreaths, curling leaves again alternate with straight leaves, and in addition the stems are incised; Trendall, RVP,nos. 3/58(pl. 175a), 3/441 (pl. 203a), 3/465 (pl.209f), 3/487 (pl.212a), 3/488 (pl.212b). It seems likely that this kylix and the bolsals in Naples were executed in an allied workshop. The yellowish clay of this cup, however, suggests that the kiln lay outside of Paestum itself; Trendall characterizes the clay of Paestum as orange-brown and micaceous (Trendall, RVP, p.266).
By date unknown: Hay Collection; gift of C. Granville Way to MFA, June 28, 1872
Hay Collection—Gift of C. Granville Way