Pottery mug in the form of the wreathed head of a boy

Etruscan, about 325-275 BC
From Vulci (Lazio, Italy)

Perhaps a server at a drinking party

Drinking vessels shaped like human or animal heads became popular in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, and combined the traditional skills of the potter with the use of moulds to produce the modelled surfaces. The art of the Hellenistic period drew on a wide range of subjects from the rich mix of Hellenistic society. As part of an art that was interested in individual human experience, different racial types were a particular focus of attention. While derived from Greek models, this vase was produced in Italy by an Etruscan craftsman.

The pottery of this mug is decorated with added white for details such as the ears, eyes and mouth, as well as the wreath with which the boy is crowned. The wreath may show that he was a server at a symposion or drinking party - an appropriate choice of subject for a drinking vessel. At such parties all the participants and even the vessels were wreathed.

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More information


L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan life and afterlife: a (Michigan, Wayne State University Press, 1986)

E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Height: 16.500 cm

Museum number

GR 1849.6-20.10 (Vases G 161)


Durand Collection


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