Statuettes of Three Banqueters

Unknown550–525 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Three men recline on cushions, each supporting himself on one elbow, partaking in a symposium or drinking party. All the men appear bearded and bare-chested, with a cloak wrapped around their lower bodies, yet each symposiast is distinguished from the others. One holds a keras or drinking horn, another gesticulates as if making a point in the conversation, and a third rubs his belly.

These bronze statuettes probably decorated the rim of a large bronze vessel used for mixing wine and water at a symposium. Greek wine was very strong and was always mixed with water before drinking. Figures of banqueters were popular subjects for the decoration of vessels associated with the symposium.

The symposium was a main institution of aristocratic Greek life. Not merely a party in the modern sense of the word, these all-male events often had a strong ritual aspect, indoctrinating and reinforcing the values of Greek society among their participants. Free women did not take part in symposia, although female slaves and courtesans provided entertainment.


  • Title: Statuettes of Three Banqueters
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 550–525 B.C.
  • Location Created: Northern Greece, Greece
  • Type: Male figures
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 96.AC.77
  • Culture: Greek
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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