Drinking cup (kylix) with archer

Late Archaic Period
about 510–500 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Catalogue Raisonné

Caskey-Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings (MFA), no. 009.


Overall: 7.7 × 23 cm (3 1/16 × 9 1/16 in.) Other (H): 16.5cm (6 1/2in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

On View

Gallery 212A-B


The Ancient World



Although this kylix depicts a lone archer (toxotai), he crouches behind his shield as if he was participating in an ambush. His feet rest on the outline of the tondo in which he is contained. He is nude except for a bashlyk (a pointed hat with ear flaps and lappets which could be wrapped around the neck for warmth). This hat is associated with the Scythians, the ancient nomadic culture of modern-day Ukraine, Southern European Russia, and Crimea, who were famed in Greece for their mastery of archery. This archer is also identified by a Scythian quiver called a gorytos; it hangs from a shoulder strap executed in dilute glaze and has a curved edge because it also functioned as a bow case. The bow (toxon) of this archer is poignantly hidden behind his shield. Archery was so heavily linked to Scythian identity in Greek painting during the Archaic period, however, that the individual himself denotes the act of shooting the bow. The shield is decorated with a horseman charging towards the right with a spear. This element of the composition suggests a larger battle and the unseen enemy at which this archer takes aim.


By 1901: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought in Athens: from Locris.); purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, December 1901

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund