A kylix is a vessel with a wide mouth, a short,
broad body that tapers into a footed base that
was employed primarily for consuming wine.
Handles on either side facilitate the raising and
lowering of the vessel as the holder sips the
contents. This gorgeous Attic red-figure kylix
was likely used during a symposium, an Ancient
Greek drinking banquet for men where the finest
painted pottery vessels were utilized. Wine
mixed with water would have filled the shallow
bowl of the cup, and as the drinker finished the
wine, the painted image as the bottom of the
bowl would become visible.
Here, a long-haired satyr kneels on his right
knee and reaches with both arms into a large
pithos, shown only partially, from which he is
undoubtedly drawing wine. In this action, the
satyr is one step ahead of the drinker who must
now attempt to refill his empty kylix. Scenes of
revelry echoing the symposia are typical
decorations for such vessels, and satyrs
specifically symbolize the effects of the wine on
the men, turning them into animals. A
formidable composition, the arch of the satyr’s
back echoes the frame of the painted scene and
further emphasizes the roundness of the kylix.
This particular shape kylix, with its off-set lip, is
known to scholars as Type C, a shape that was
relatively popular from around 490 to 460 B.C.
and that was often painted black on the exterior
without adornment, as is the case with this