High-handled drinking cup (kantharos) in the form of two heads

Late Archaic Period
about 510–480 B.C.
The London Class

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Overall: 19.2 x 14.3 cm (7 9/16 x 5 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

Not On View


The Ancient World



The joining of black and white female heads is unusual. On black-figure vases, white (i.e. Greek) women are often painted with the same white slip (liquid clay) as that used on the mouth of this cup, but on head vases they are always left in the reddish and the more lifelike color of the clay, heightened somewhat by a wash of yellow ochre, so the flesh is red, eyes white, and the iris black. The African woman smiles with her teeth showing; her eyes and eyebrows are white. Her hair is a mass of dots, with traces of red paint.

Above, the cup has a creamy reserved white band, with palmettes below a band with chequers. The inscriptions: “the boy is handsome” (Kalos ho pais), appear on both sides in a band beneath the palmettes.

Condition: repaired with some restoration.


"Kalos ho pais"


By 1897: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: Bought 1897 from a Greek. Probably from Tanagra.); 1898: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 69,618.13 (this figure is the total price for MFA 98.641-98.940)

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund