Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Pottery: red-figured kylix:
    INTERIOR: Trainer and boxer. A bearded trainer stands to the right, but looks back over his shoulder to the left. He wears a himation (black border; battlement border around shoulder only), shoes and a red apicate fillet in his hair (tails at back). The hair down the median line of his stomach is done with irregular short strokes in dilute glaze. He holds a forked stick out in his right hand; his left is within a bunch of drapery behind his back. On the right stands a naked athlete tying a thong (drawn in relief lines) around his raised right hand and wrist. His left leg is frontal, his right leg flexed behind his left with only the toes touching the ground. He has a red apicate fillet in his hair (tails at back). Preliminary sketch reveals that the trainer's arm was originally intended to have been bent up at 90°, holding his stick vertically.
    Border: dotted cross-squares alternating with three units of stopt maeander (anticlockwise); additional maeander unit at 10 o'clock.
    EXTERIOR: athletes.
    Side A (upper): boxers and pancratiasts. On the left is a pair of boxers in a bout. The boxer on the left has his left arm bent up in front, his right arm back, and there is a dilute line on his cheek. His opponent, facing to the left, is seen in three-quarter back view, his left arm out in front, his right drawn back for a blow. His cheek is heavily marked with relief lines, under the eye and along the cheekbone, to denote swelling. The thongs of both boxers around their hands and wrists are painted in red. In the centre is a pair of pancratiasts down on the ground. On the left, the youth has his torso frontal, his right leg tucked up under resting on the ball of the foot and partially obscuring his genitals, his left leg outstretched to the right. His head is turned to the right, his right arm is out to the left, fist clenched to deliver a blow, his left holds his opponent's head in an armlock, his fingers seeming to claw at his opponent's right eye and the palm and heel of his hand covering his mouth. He has a relief line marking his cheekbone and two dilute creases on his brow. His opponent has a frontal face. His legs are wrapped round the first youth's left leg and he has both hands to that youth's face, his thumbs probably searching for his right eye. Above them hangs a discus in a bag - the discus is decorated with a cross and the mouth of the bag with dots - and a pair of thongs. On the right a bearded trainer steps forward, his forked stick raised over his head to stop the fouls and the fight. He is dressed in a himation (black border) and shoes; his left arm is under the himation. On the far right is a column with a plain one step base and a plain termination at the top.
    Side Β (lower): hoplitodromos and boxers. On the left a hoplitodromos moves to the right, wearing greaves and a thick reserved fillet round his head. He carries a shield on his left arm and holds a helmet down in his right hand (missing fragment had part of crest and calf of this figure and, on the inside, part of the maeander border). In front of him stands a trainer, whose torso and left leg are fully frontal, but his inclined head is turned to the right. He wears a himation (black border) and a red wreath and holds a forked stick in his right hand, his left arm akimbo under the himation. In the centre a pair of boxers fight with open hands. They both have red thongs around their hands and wrists and the outlines of the cheeks are marked with dilute lines. The boxer on the left has both legs frontal. His left arm is extended in a defensive position, while with his right he wards off the left arm of his opponent. The boxer on the right has his left arm out in front and his right arm bent up over his head; part of his back is visible. Behind him hangs a pair of thongs. On the right stands a boxer holding a red thong stretched between his two hands. His right leg is frontal and his left is turned to the right, but his head faces back to the left. On the far right is a pillar with fluting done in dilute glaze, a plain single step base and plain termination on top, on which rests a pair of thongs. Ground line: two closely set reserved lines. Graffito under foot.
    Relief line contour throughout (except hair); dilute glaze for minor interior markings; thick reserved line lip, thin outside; added red for inscriptions.


  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 490BC-480BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 123 millimetres
    • Diameter: 318 millimetres
    • Width: 395 millimetres (including handles)
    • Weight: 946 grammes
    • Height: 12.7 centimetres
    • Diameter: 30.48 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Comment

        (Nonsense, Es with their three strokes facing downwards).
  • Curator's comments

    CVA British Museum 9

    Bibliography: Sale Catalogue of the Emil Braun Collection (Christie's) February 21 1850 no. 40; Hartwig Μ 392-4, 689 no. 9; Murray DGV no. 55; Tonks Brygos 109 no. 21; Hoppin i 457 no. 13; VA 94; AV 186, i; ARV 263, 3; Bloesch FAS 73, no. 20; ARV2 401, 3 and p. 1651; Beazley RG 5 5-6, figs. 6-8; Poliakoff Combat Sports 55 fig. 53 (detail of A); Sweet Sport and Recreation 82 fig. 28 (A); E. Spathari (ed.) Ellada Athletismos Politismos (Athens 1988) 50 fig. 33; R. Jackson, Doctors and Diseases in the Roman Empire (London 1988) p. 35 fig. 5 (A); Beazley Add2 230-1; Beazley Lectures 80, pl. 50, 2 and 51.

    Given by Hartwig to his Diogenes Master (although he did group together the first three pieces in Beazley's later list of the Foundry Painter; cf. Buschor GV 176), by Murray with some reservation to the style of Brygos and attributed by Beazley to his Foundry Painter. The potting has been attributed by Bloesch to Euphronios.
    For the Foundry Painter see, in addition to Beazley's lists and lecture (Beazley RG - Beazley Lectures 78-83), Knauer Foundry Painter and Robertson Art of Vase-painting 107-9. He decorated mainly cups, but also a skyphos (ARV2 403, 37), a phiale (with coral red inside: Getty fragments), a kantharos of type C (ARV2 1651 add as 37 bis), a kantharos with applied masks (Getty 85.AE.263), a head vase (ARV2 382, 184) and a pyxis (Brauron Museum fragments). The earliest works of the Foundry Painter derive from Onesimos' Lykan cups: the Foundry Painter was a pupil of Onesimos (e.g. ARV2 331, 17 [manner of Onesimos]; Para 361, 131 bis [Onesimos]; Para 370 add as 33 bis; AKV2 1651 add as 18 bis; Bloomington see Knauer Foundry Painter, 402, 19). The London athletic cup is an early mature work. Its tondo border ties it to a number of other works by the painter (ARV2 401, 2; 402, 12-13; Para 370, add as 12 bis) and to the Brygos Painter's early mature phase (cf. Vase E68).
    The open-handed boxers on the exterior recur on a fragment by the Foundry Painter (ARV2 401, 6) and on an unpublished cup in a New York private collection (Spears) by the Dokimasia Painter (cf. also ARV2 340, 73, Antiphon Painter). They are perhaps engaging in preliminary feints or sparring: see Gardiner AAW 205-6, akrocheirizesthai. On boxing techniques in general see now Poliakoff Combat Sports 80-5.
    The pancratiasts on side A demonstrate one of the two forbidden actions of pancratiasts (cf. Aristophanes Birds 442 and Peace 899), namely gouging. We cannot be sure if the pancratiast with the frontal face was biting his opponent, the other outlawed practice, but given the opportunity provided, it seems most likely that he would have done so. For a full discussion of the pankration see Gardiner AAW 212-21 and, most recently, Poliakoff Combat Sports.
    For the Foundry Painter's nonsense inscriptions cf. now Immerwahr Attic Script 89: writing 'without bothering to turn the cup'. This is most noticeable in the production of the Es. The retrograde graffito is perhaps more Greek than Etruscan.


  • Bibliography

    • CVA British Museum 9 48 bibliographic details
    • Old Catalogue 971* bibliographic details
    • Vase E78 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G20a/dc2

  • 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

  • Condition

    Made up from fragments; ancient rivet holes (6 pairs, holding left handle and part of rim).

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number


Pottery: red-figured kylix: boxers, and pankratiasts committing fouls. One pankratiast tries to gouge his opponent's eye, a foul for which the umpire is about to strike him. Behind hang a discus in a bag and a bundle of boxing thongs.

Detail: Other

Pottery: red-figured kylix: boxers, and pankratiasts committing fouls. One pankratiast tries to gouge his opponent's eye, a foul for which the umpire is about to strike him. Behind hang a discus in a bag and a bundle of boxing thongs.

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: GAA4072

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help