Ancient Greek Red Figure Stemless Kylix


An excellent ancient Greek, Attic, red-figure stemless kylix with a male nude scene. The drinking bowl has a convex body, forming a shallow bowl, that is covered in a rich, dark glossy glaze. There are two D-shaped handles to each side, are which have become worn slightly with age. Within the shallow bowl is a simple decorative scene, situated at the base. It depicts a naked male youth who is crouched over reaching outwards, towards a segment of an altar, seen on the right. Attention has been paid to his muscular physique, with his stomach and chest detailed with slight engravings. The scene is framed by two concentric circles, coloured a rich terracotta red from the original clay. The rest of the bowl is painted in a black glossy pigment. The bowl itself rests on a small foot ring base. To the centre of the ring base are a series of concentric circular patterns, with a central eye at the centre.

Length given below measures from handle edge to handle edge. The internal width of the bowl is 14.1cm.

Date: Circa 5th Century BC
Condition: Excellent condition. Some loss of glaze to the handles. Repaired professionally to the body..

In stock

Stemless Kylix cups were used for an ancient Greek event known as a symposium. It was an exclusively male party held at a private residence, with the only women allowed being high class prostitutes known as ‘herairai’. These events would be opportunities for typically higher-class men to drink and discuss philosophy, politics, poetry and contemporary topical issues. It was thought that the kylix cup would have been shared around the party and be a communal drinking vessel. It was also typical to find eye imagery on drinking cups as it was thought to ward off evil spirits from entering the wine.

Such scenes of young men were common as subject themes. They depict the everyday lives of Greek men, documented on a vessel used by men as part of daily life. They are the parallel for similar pottery examples with scenes of women fulfilling daily tasks.

For more information on the Greek symposium tradition, please see our blog post: The Symposium in Classical Cultures

Weight 151.2 g
Dimensions L 20.3 x H 4.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 1772-0320-176