High-handled drinking cup (kantharos) with erotic scenes

Archaic Period
about 520–510 B.C.
Potter Nikosthenes, the Nikosthenes Painter

Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens


Height x diameter: 16.2 x 20.3 cm (6 3/8 x 8 in.) Other (With handles): 24 x 28 cm (9 7/16 x 11 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, Red Figure

On View

Greek Classical Gallery (Gallery 215B)


The Ancient World



Side A and B: Erotic scenes. An orgy is in progress: the figures danced around and grab at each other. The youth at far right (on the other side) wields a sandal with sadistic intent. On the floor are shoes and a basin; on the wall a birdcage, a flute-case, and a dildo. The inscriptions in the fields are meaningless.

Around the edge of the base the inscription “Nikosthenes made [it]” (NIKOSTHENES EPOIE[S]EN). Signed by Nikosthenes as potter and thus attributed to the “Nikosthenes Painter”.

Condition: Slightly restored


"Nikosthenes made [it]" (NIKOSTHENES EPOIE[S]EN)
The inscriptions in the fields are meaningless.


By the potter: "Nikosthenes made [it]" (NIKOSTHENES EPOIE[S]EN)


Dates unknown: said to be from Vulci; Durand Collection (catalogue, no. 662); Beugnot Collection (no. 12); Pourtalès Collection (no. 392); Eugène Piot Collection (no. 213); by 1892: A. van Branteghem Collection (Hotel Drouot auction of Van Branteghem collection, Paris, May 30-31 and June 1, lot 26); by date unknown: 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