Silver cup


British Museum

British Museum

This type of straight-sided cup with a single spool-shaped handle is called a Vapheio cup. It is named after two gold cups found buried with a Mycenaean chieftain in a tholos tomb at Vapheio in Laconia. Both cups were decorated in repoussé with scenes of bull-capture.

Such vessels were clearly prized at home on the Greek mainland and were also treasured items of trade and gift exchange. This cup, although made in Greece, was found in a tomb at the site of Enkomi on Cyprus. Very large examples are seen carried by Aegeans in tribute scenes on Egyptian wall-paintings, such as those on a wall of the tomb of Senmut, steward of Amun under Queen Hatshepsut (1492-1479 BC). The popularity of this Aegean form of vessel was therefore widespread. Examples have usually been preserved in tombs, but there can be no doubt that large numbers of precious vessels have been lost through melting down and reuse of the metal.

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  • Title: Silver cup
  • Date Created: -1400/-1300
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 6.90cm; Diameter: 14.70cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: hammered; engraved; soldered
  • Registration number: 1897,0401.506
  • Production place: Made in Greece
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Enkomi
  • Period/culture: Late Helladic IIIA
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Excavated by Turner Bequest Excavations, Enkomi. Funded by Turner, Emma Tourner