Two-handled cup (skyphos) with Bacchic scene

Roman
Early Imperial Period
A.D. 1–30


Dimensions

Height: 11.1 cm (4 3/8 in.); diameter: 10.1 cm (4 in.); width: 16.8 cm (6 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

1997.83

Medium or Technique

Silver, with traces of gold leaf

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Vessels

Two handled wine cup (skyphos) with traces of gold leaf on surface. In repoussé, are scenes related to Bacchic (Dionysos) ritual. In the center of one side is a herm of Priapus, a rustic god of fertility, whose obtrusive penis was removed in antiquity. Nearby is another small herm that stands on a colonnette close to the right handle. The scene is set outdoors, and a curtain, portable altar, and pillar with basket of wine cups are present. Bacchic theater masks are present as is a child bringing a goat for sacrifice.

On the opposite side at left is a flowering tree. In front, a child brings a cock to fight while on right are a satyr herm, incense burner and ritual vessels on an altar. There is a fighting cock below. On the handles and foot is a delicate floral decoration. Floral shrubs and theatrical masks flank the handles, and a filleted pine-cone thyrsus angles right from side 1 to side 2. The smooth liner of the bowl is intact; only a few tiny losses are present.

Inscribed under the foot are the letters SISIMIS, possibly the owner’s name.

Provenance

Early 1950s, said to have been sold by Kenneth John Hewett (dealer, b. 1919 - d. 1994), London, to Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Hecht, Sr. and, in 1959, passed by inheritance to their son, Robert E. Hecht, Jr., Boston; 1997, sold by Robert Hecht to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 25, 1997)

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund, Frank B. Bemis Fund, John H. and Ernestine Payne Fund and William E. Nickerson Fund