Drinking cup (kantharos)

Greek, South Italian
Early Hellenistic Period
about 320–310 B.C.
Artist The Kantharos Group

Place of Manufacture: Italy, Apulia

Catalogue Raisonné

Vase-Painting in Italy (MFA), no. 074.


Height with handles: 19.1 cm (7 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


Europe, The Ancient World



On either side, a female head is facing to the left, wearing a sakkos, earrings, radiate stephane, and necklace, with much use of added yellow. Framing the head are vertical stripes, which appear to be topped by ivy leaves but in fact are very cursory Ionic columns. There is a flower in the field on side A. The grooves framing the fillet on the stem are painted red and yellow. The side of the foot is tinted red.

That the “ivy-staffs” are in fact Ionic columns is made clear by more carefully executed examples, such as Bonn 118-119 (RVAp, Suppl. II, p. 291, no. 27/155a, and p. 188, no. 21/63b; CVA 3, pl. 35). They are common framing elements on such kantharoi but are sometimes omitted, as on the following example. The columns may have funerary overtones; compare Malibu 84.AE.996 (RVAp, Suppl. II, p. 144, no. 18/16g; CVA 4, pls. 179, 2 and 182, 3), where a tomb monument consists of a white Ionic column surmounted by a kantharos.

The Kantharos Group was a large group within the workshop of the White Sakkos Painter. The shape and the decoration with female heads are standard.

(Text from Vase-Painting in Italy, catalogue entry no. 74)


By date unknown: Horace L. Mayer Collection; loaned by Horace L. Mayer to MFA, January 27, 1959 as 4.59); inherited by Mrs. Horace L. Mayer; gift of Mrs. Horace L. Mayer to MFA, December 13, 1978 (as App. 1978.31); reaccessioned as 1978.1346, June 23, 1993

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Horace L. Mayer