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Known for their hospitality, festivities and merrymaking, the Ancient Greeks loved themselves a nice kylix of wine. Characterized by its shallow bowl-like body, horizontal handles, short stem and artwork, this ceramic cup was the most common type of stemware in Ancient Greece, followed by the kantharos, a narrower, deeper cup featuring high vertical handles. Dissecting the kylix, one will note that the nearly flat interior part of the bowl was decorated with classic black or red figure paintings characteristic of the pottery art of the times.

The kylix was created for use at symposiums where men would often drink in a reclined position, and were often decorated with humorous or sexual in nature scenes featuring gods and satyrs, events, and details from daily life. The shape of the kylix also allowed its holder to engage in competitions of kottabos, a game popular in the 5th and 4th centuries BC where wine lees were flung at targets.

Needless to say, the kylix was an object synonymous with partying and fun, and constitutes some of the most well preserved ancient artifacts today, whether in whole or in fragments, depicting the lives and faces of the Ancient Greeks. A famous piece is that of the Apollo kylix, one that is on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delphi.

a. PERIOD: Archaic

CULTURE: Greek | Attic

DATE: 510 B.C.

b. PERIOD: Archaic

CULTURE: Greek | Laconian

DATE: 6th Century B.C.

c. PERIOD: Late Helladic

CULTURE: Greek | Mycenaean

DATE: 1300 - 1225 B.C.

d. PERIOD: Archaic

CULTURE: Greek | Attic

DATE: 520 B.C.

COLLECTION: The Metropolitan Museum of Arts


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