Glass footed cup (skyphos)


British Museum

British Museum

This glass skyphos (winged-handled cup) belongs to a series that includes vessels for both serving and drinking. A number of these are decorated with fine linear cutting and some are of deliberately coloured glass: deep blue, purple or aquamarine. The cup is ovoid (egg-shaped) with a thick, hollow stem. The mouth of the cup is narrow and while the stem could have been hollowed out after the glass vessel had been formed (cold-working) it is more likely that the cavity was created while the glass was soft (a hot process). This would have been both quicker and easier. The vessel body was probably formed around a crushable and removable core, which would also allow the handles and foot to be added more easily. The rim of the cup was ground, the handles cut into shape, and the finished vessel polished all over. The glass of this vessel is intentionally decolourized so that it has a pale greenish tinge. Besides skyphoi, fairly large plates, dishes, and hemispherical bowls with projecting bosses on the outside and linear-cut decoration on the bottom were produced. These were luxury items, imitating vessels of other materials such as silver and bronze. Most examples have been found in Greek settlements in southern Italy and Sicily, or on sites in Greece, Asia Minor, around the Black Sea and possibly in Cyrenaica in North Africa. Their production centre, however, remains unknown.

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  • Title: Glass footed cup (skyphos)
  • Date Created: -225/-200
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 11.00cm; Diameter: 11.00cm (rim)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: cast; ground
  • Registration number: 1871,0518.9
  • Production place: Made in Cyprus. Made in Levant. Made in Egypt
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Canosa di Puglia
  • Period/culture: Hellenistic
  • Material: glass
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Slade, Felix


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