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Attic Red-Figure Kylix

Onesimosabout 500 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Scenes of nude male revelers and hetairai, or high-class prostitutes, decorate this Athenian red-figure kylix or cup. On the interior of the cup, a reclining hetaira plays kottabos, a popular drinking game at symposia, or aristocratic drinking parties. The woman slips one handle of a cup over her index finger and tries to flick the dregs from the bottom of the cup at a target some distance away.

Related scenes cover the outside of the cup. On one side, another reclining hetaira plays krotala, castanet-like instruments, while one youth offers her a large cup and another youth dances behind her. On the other side, three more youths dance.

Scenes of hetairai were a were a popular subject in Greek vase-painting, especially on vases meant to be used at a symposion. For most Athenian men, the only interaction that they would have with women outside their own family was with mistresses or hetairai, who were usually slaves or foreigners. Respectable Athenian women led a very secluded life in which the nudity and frolicking shown on this vase would have been unthinkable.

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Details

  • Title: Attic Red-Figure Kylix
  • Creator: Attributed to Onesimos
  • Date: about 500 B.C.
  • Location Created: Athens, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 8.5 x 28 cm (3 3/8 x 11 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Object Type: Cup
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 82.AE.14
  • Inscription: Tondo: HO PAIS KALOS A: HO PAIS KALOS B: HO PAIS [KALOS]
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 207, Women and Children in Antiquity
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Greek (Attic)
  • Classification: Vessels

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