A youth's victory in a musical contest decorates the interior of this red-figure cup. He stands crowned with a myrtle wreath, holding his kithara, while Nike, the goddess of victory, flies in, ready to award him a fillet or ribbon. A different sort of contest, a chariot race, covers the outside of the cup. This is no ordinary chariot race, however, for the drivers are women and three horses are harnessed to each chariot. Although the drivers are not named, their gender and the three-horse team set the action in the mythological realm.
A mythological subject is further suggested by the brands of the horses. One horse has a kerykeion, or herald's staff, on its flank; the other has an X-shaped mark. While real Greek horses were frequently branded, the mark of the kerykeion appears predominantly in representations of mythological contexts. Given these clues, both drivers probably represent Nike. In the late 400s B.C., vase-painters would sometimes depict more than one personification in a scene in order to amplify the message.