Covered drinking cup (kylix) depciting athletes and judges

Late Archaic Period
about 500 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Catalogue Raisonné

CVA Boston 2, pl. 107.


Overall: 7.5 x 23 cm (2 15/16 x 9 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

On View

Gallery 212A-B


The Ancient World



The top is covered except for an opening from which one can drink. The stem is hollow and continues upward inside to the level of the rim. The cup could be filled through the stem, and, once filled, could be emptied only through the mouthpiece. The vessel was lowered, right side up, into a krater of wine until the stem was covered. The hollow stem filled up with wine, which then flowed into the inner compartment. When the cup was held in a horizontal position ready for drinking, the wine could not flow out through the foot because the top of the hollow stem was high above the level of the wine.

On top are seven nude, athletes moving counterclockwise. A long-bearded, balding judge with a himation over his shoulder to the left of the spout places a ribbon in added white over the first of the athletes. Another white ribbon flutters from the athlete’s arm, a red fillet is tied around his right thigh, and he holds a red aryballos in his left hand. Behind him, a beardless youth with a himation over his shoulder plays the double flute. The following athletes originally had fillets in either added red or added white around their heads. The white is missing on the fifth and seventh athletes . The third, fifth, and seventh athletes are beardless; the first, second, and fourth are bearded.
Between the figures are the inscriptions “the boy/(is) beautiful/the girl/(is) beautiful/the boy/ (is) beautiful/the girl/(is) beautiful/indeed”:
In the center a bearded mask (Silenos?) is surrounded by a dotted band with three outer and three inner bounding circles.
The lower part of the cup is undecorated.
The foot has been broken from the stem and reattached.


"The girl is pretty" (he pais kale) "The boy is handsome" (ho pais kalos)


By date unknown: A. van Branteghem Collection; 1892: Hotel Drouot auction of van Branteghem Collection, May 30-31 and June 1, Paris, lot 21; by 1894: with Edward Perry Warren; 1895: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 29,857.37 (this figure is the total price for MFA 95.9-95.174)

Credit Line

Catharine Page Perkins Fund