Komasts or revelers frolic around the exterior of this Athenian red-figure cup. The men dance and hold skyphoi (deep drinking cups), while female attendants provide the music with double pipes (auloi) and castanets (krotala). The men’s attire, however, is rather unusual. Like the women, they wear long chitons over which are draped himatia (cloaks), as well as turban-like headdresses and earrings. Also notable is the female figure on each side who accompanies the men with a parasol.
Several dozen vases with similar scenes survive. They are often termed ‘Anakreontic’, after the poet Anakreon, who came to Athens from East Greece in the late 500s B.C. Notably, the costume worn by the men on these vases finds parallels with male attire in the Greek colonies on the coast of Turkey and in the neighboring kingdom of Lydia. East Greek art and ideas – through figures such as Anakreon - began to enter Athenian culture towards the end of the sixth century BC, and the adoption of Eastern dress is part of this trend. More generally, the men’s adoption of typically feminine attire can be understood in connection to Dionysos. Best known as the god of wine, and thus a central figure in any symposium (an ivy-wreathed mixing vessel stands under one of the handles of this cup), he was also associated with the blurring of conventions.
A quieter scene decorates the interior, with a young man offering a flower to a standing woman holding a mirror. The cup is signed under the handle by Brygos as potter.