Drinking cup (skyphos) depicting chorus scenes

Archaic Period
about 520–510 B.C.

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Height: 16 cm (6 5/16 in.); diameter: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Black Figure

On View

Greek Classical Gallery (Gallery 215C)


The Ancient World



The vase has a frieze in the later black figure style, apparently with chorus scenes from early Attic comedies.
Side A: Six warriors riding on dolphins, to right, towards a man playing a flute.
Side B: Six youths riding upon ostriches, to right, towards a man playing a flute. In front of him, facing the others, is a bearded Pygmy. Repaired and painted over.

The presence of a flute-player in each scene suggests that the dolphin and ostrich-riders are chorusmen in theatrical comedies, which often featured choruses of men dressed in outlandish costumes, such as wasps or frogs. Dolphin-riders appear elsewhere in Greek art, especially on the coinage of Taras, in southern Italy.


Said to have been in the Mongelli Collection; by 1890: Henry Adams Collection (loaned to MFA, December 19, 1890, as L. 1505); gift of the Heirs of Henry Adams to MFA, January 1, 1920

Credit Line

Gift of the heirs of Henry Adams