Black-Figure Kylix; c. 550 BC; Attica; 63.002


R D Milns Antiquities Museum


Black-Figure Kylix

About this object

A kylix is a large cup with a lip that gently curves inwards before smoothly passing into a rounded bowl. This kylix falls into the subcategory of the "lip cup", which dates from 560-530 BC; there is a distinct angle where the bowl joins the flared lip. The bowl is set on a high stemmed foot whose base is disc shaped and flaring in profile. The horizontal handles are placed symmetrically, one on each side of the bowl. They are round in cross section and curve up beside the lip. The main colours are the red of the clay with black used to accent parts of the vase plus added red on the black-figure decoration. The latter is on the exterior of the vase and includes a pair of wrestlers, symmetrically placed in the centre of the lip zone on each side of the vase, plus palmettes which curve up from the base of each handle. The cup is mended, but in good condition with some wear evident, especially on the lip and handles.

There is a hole in the centre of the interior of the bowl and two holes have been bored through the top part of the stem, at right angles to each other. These indicate that the foot was re-attached to the bowl in antiquity, using molten lead poured into the central hole.

The exterior of the lip is reserved except for a black line on the top of the lip and another where the lip joins the bowl. A pair of wrestlers is placed in the centre of the lip zone on each side of the vase. They are shown in profile, facing each other at the start of a wrestling bout, leaning forward and grasping each other's arms (the "akrocheirismos" pose). Added red is used for their hair and cursory incision gives some detail of facial features, limbs and genitals. The buttocks are heavy, eyes round and the penis (visible on the left-hand wrestler on each side) is triangular in shape.

The handle zone is reserved and decorated with upright palmettes which are connected by a tendril to the base of each handle. The heart and alternate segments of the palmettes are red and incision is used to outline the segments.

The lower part of the exterior of the bowl is black with a reserved ring and the exterior of the stem and top of the disc foot are painted black while the edge of the disc is reserved.

Black is used on the outside and some of the inside of each handle.

The top of the lip is reserved and the interior of the bowl is glossy black except for a central reserved disc and a black ring around the hole where the foot joins the bowl.

Date Made

c. 550 BC



Place Made


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Description

Wrestlers, associated with athletic competitions

Medium and Materials


Style and Iconography



Wheel made


Height = 119mm
Diameter = 208mm
Width = n/a

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

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