Attic Red-Figure Kylix (Interior)


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Scenes of revelry decorate this Athenian red-figure kylix or cup. On the interior, a nude woman reclines as she plays kottabos, a popular drinking game at the symposium (aristocratic male drinking party). With one handle of a deep drinking cup (skyphos) slipped over her index finger, she tries to flick the dregs from the bottom of the cup at a target some distance away.

The sympotic theme continues on the exterior. On one side, youths dance with skyphoi and krotala (castanet-like instruments). On the other, two more youths cavort and gesture around a nude woman, who reclines on a cushion, playing krotala.<br />

The symposium was a male event, and when women were present, they were typically there to entertain or otherwise attend to the male participants. They are often shown performing music, helping the sick, or having sex. The nudity of the two women on this cup would have been inappropriate for respectable Athenian women, and they are either hetairai – mistresses or courtesans who would augment an evening’s drinking with their song, conversation and sexual allure – or prostitutes hired for the occasion.


  • Title: Attic Red-Figure Kylix (Interior)
  • Creator: Onesimos
  • Date Created: about 490 B.C.
  • Location Created: Athens, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 8.5 × 36.9 cm (3 3/8 × 14 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Cup
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 82.AE.14
  • Culture: Greek (Attic)
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Attributed to Onesimos (Greek (Attic), active 500 - 480 B.C.)
  • Classification: Vessels (Containers)

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