Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pottery: red-figured cup decorated on the interior with an erotic scene, and on the exterior with athletes.
    INTERIOR: love-making. A bearded, naked man kneels to the right, his back resting against a large folded cushion decorated with pairs of black bands with a line between, his fingertips reaching for the ground to help his balance. A naked hetaira stands on the right and slowly eases herself backwards and downwards onto the man's erect penis, one hand resting on his ribs, the other on his hip, steadying her progress. Her hair is cut short.
    Border: stopt maeander (clockwise; joint at 7 o'clock).
    EXTERIOR: athletes.
    Side A (lower): wrestlers and a trainer. On the left is a fluted column on a simple block base (the top is missing). Both of the wrestlers bend forward, their arms interlocked (the face of the male on the left is missing as is most of the upper part and parts of the legs of the wrestler on the right). On the right stands a bearded trainer, leaning on a knotty stick. He wears a himation with a black border and shoes. He holds a forked stick out over the pair of wrestlers.
    Side Β (upper): two hoplitodromoi and a trainer. On the left a youth wearing a himation (black border) stoops to the right, his right hand resting on the upper shaft of a knotty stick, his left holding a forked stick down towards the ground. In the centre a bearded man in greaves and thick reserved headband runs to the left but looks back to the right. He holds a Chalcidian helmet (frontlet imitating hair) out in front in his right hand; the shield on his left arm has a five-lobed leaf device. His penis is infibulated. On the right a youth in greaves and a helmet runs quickly to the left. Behind him a shield, seen in profile and decorated with an arc (part of a large circle) and two dotted circles, leans against a fluted column. The column rests on a simple block base and has no capital. Ground line: two reserved lines.
    Relief line contours throughout (except hair); dilute glaze for minor interior markings; reserved line inside and outside lip.


  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 480BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 31 centimetres
    • Diameter: 22.6 centimetres
    • Diameter: 12.1 centimetres (of tondo)
    • Height: 8.8 centimetres
    • Diameter: 7.8 centimetres (of exterior ground line)
    • Weight: 596 grammes (including mount)
  • Curator's comments

    CVA British Museum 9

    Bibliography: Cabinet Durand lot 667; Hartwig M 373 no. 8; Hoppin i 134 no. 69; ARV 271, 9; ARV2 412, 10; V. Olivova, Sports and Games in the Ancient World (London 1984) 103 (A); Sweet Sport and Recreation 31 fig. 7 (A); Beazley Add2 233.

    Placed near Brygos by Hartwig; attributed by Beazley to his Dokimasia Painter.
    On the Dokimasia Painter see, in addition to Beazley's lists: E. Vermeule, AJA 70 (1966) 1-22; M. Schmidt, Festschrift Bloesch 100-4; H.A. Cahn, RA 1973, 3-22; Boardman ARFVArchaic 137; C. Isler-Kerenyi, Stamnoi (Lugano 1976-7) 59-64; Robertson Art of Vase-painting 115-18. He can be very close to the Brygos Painter. Indeed, Beazley changed his mind over the attribution of some three pieces that he initially gave to the Brygos Painter (see ARV2 1649 and Para 372-3). In general, the Brygan spirit is somewhat diluted, but his figures have a good deal of presence. He takes his name from the scene on a cup in Berlin (ARV2 412, 1). This and his other grand cup (ARV2 413, 25) are representative of the artist's mature work: they belong beside the Brygos Painter's middle phase. The painter's earliest surviving cup seems to be that formerly on the Paris Market (ARV2 413, 12; now Getty Mus. 82.AE.121). Two further pieces precede the main body of the painter's mature oeuvre (ARV2 413, 15; Para 372, add as 25 ter). The Copenhagen hunting cup seems particularly late (ARV2 413, 16).
    The painter also decorated a series of stamnoi in an Early Classical style that belong at the end of his career (ARV2 414, 34; 415, 4; Para 373, add as 34 bis, with Beazley Add2 233; Para 373, add as 34 ter, with Beazley Add2 234. Add ARV2 814, 100 - now CVA Edinburgh pl. 18). The shape of the first two of these stamnoi has been loosely connected with some by the Kleophrades Painter (B. Philippaki, The Attic Stamnos [Oxford 1967] 55), the two in Switzerland and the one in Edinburgh are placed in the Class of the Late Stamnoi of the Berlin Painter (Philippaki op. cit. 42 and 153, addenda to p. 42). The Boston calyx-krater (ARV2 1652; Para 373, add as 34 quater) is very different and surely by the Brygos Painter himself. Robertson suggests that the Munich kalathoid-psykter (ARV2 385, 228) might be moved to the Dokimasia Painter, but this, too, seems out of place next to the Dokimasia Painter's stamnoi. Beazley also placed an amphora of Panathenaic shape near the Dokimasia Painter (ARV2 415 3): this shape was also decorated by the Briseis Painter.
    The love-making on the interior of the London cup involves an unusual pose, making the cup difficult to poise correctly. Something similar recurs on three fragmentary cups in the collection of Herbert Cahn in Basel (inv. 1666 [ex Greifenhagen], exterior, attributed to Onesimos by Bothmer; inv. 1665 [ex Greifenhagen], tondo, U. Gehrig, Antiken aus Berliner Privatbesitz [Berlin 1975] no. 232; inv. 1662 [ex Olivia Curtius and Greifenhagen], tondo, ph. RI. 37.885). On a cup by the Tarquinia Painter a girl climbs backwards onto a seated youth {Para 427, add as 869, 63 bis); on a cup attributed to the Boot Painter by J.R Guy a girl is already in place, but has her head turned away (Getty 83AE.321 [ex Raubitschek]: Reinsberg fig. 60); and on an oinochoe by the Shuvalov Painter a hetaira climbs forwards onto the knees of a youth (Berlin 2414: ARV2 1208, 41). Such passive poses by men are not common. For a homosexual version cf. London F65 (ARV2 1154, 35) and P.H. von Blanckenhagen in
    L. Bonfante and H. von Heintze (eds.), Essays in Archaeology and the Humanities: In Memoriam Otto f. Brendel (Mainz 1976) 37-41.
    Athletic scenes seem to be rare in the oeuvre of the Dokimasia Painter, but add a fragmentary early cup in Greifswald (294: A. Hundt and K. Peters, Greifswalder Antiken [Berlin 1961] pl. 27). On infibulation by athletes see most recently Sweet Sport and Recreation 129-33. For the shield device of a leaf see J.D. Beazley, BSA 46 (1951) 13-14; cf. also Vase E45.


  • Bibliography

    • CVA British Museum 9 53 bibliographic details
    • Vase E818 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G20a/dc1

  • Exhibition history


    1980 5 Jun- 26 Oct, London, BM, The Ancient Olympic Games
    2008 1 May-12 Jul, Shanghai, The Ancient Olympic Games
    2008 2 Aug-31 Sep, Hong Kong, The Ancient Olympic Games
    2009 2 Apr-13 Oct, Alicante, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2010 30 Apr-30 Aug, Seoul, National Museum of Korea, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought 2010-2011 15 Oct-07 Feb, Taipei, The National Palace Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2010-2011, 11 Mar-12 Jun, Kobe City Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2011 4 July-25 Sept, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2011-2012, 25 Oct-12 Feb, Mexico City, National Anthropological Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2012-2013 6 Oct-6 Jan, Portland Art Museum, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2013 6 May-6 Oct, Dallas Museum of Art, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2014, 21Feb-9 Jun, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greek Art and Thought
    2014, 2 Aug-9 Nov, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia, The Body Beautiful in Greek Art and Thought
    2015, 26 Mar-5 Jul, The British Museum, Defining Beauty: the body in ancient Greek art.

  • Condition

    Made up of fragments: three large rim fragments missing, along with two areas of wall and other chips; fragment missing from foot plate.

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • M123 (Museum Secretum)


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