Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Attributed to The Theseus Painter, Greek
Skyphos (drinking cup): Preparation of Clay or Agricultural Scene
Work Type
c. 510-500 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Attica
Archaic period
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3400, Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art, Ancient Greece in Black and Orange
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
H: 17.4 x Diam: 22 cm (6 7/8 x 8 11/16 in.)
Diam w/ handles 29 cm (11 7/16 in.)
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
Beazley Archive Database #330707
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Black-figure skyphos (drinking vessel)

The scene depicted on this vessel has been identified either as potters at work preparing clay or a kiln, or as an agricultural scene depicting the winnowing of grain. The two sides of the skyphos repeat a similar composition: a man wearing a himation stands next to a herm. To the left of him a man stands behind or inside of a conical feature surrounded by hatch marks (Side A: more substantial losses; the man holds a basket overhead. Side B: the man is empty-handed but gestures to the left). On the left side of the conical feature a man bends over, holding a basket on its side. Behind him is another man holding an amphora; he is either a potter attaching handles to the vessel, or another agricultural worker proffering the vessel for the measurement of grain. All the men besides the one at the herm are only dressed below the waist, a sign of their workman status. Vines are interwoven overhead, indicating that the scene takes place outdoors.
Publication History

Paul Zanker, Wandel der Hermesgestalt in der Attischen Vasenmalerei, Abhandlungen zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte, zur klassischen und provinzial-römischen Archäologie und zur Geschichte des Altertums (1965), ser. 3, vol. 2

Julius Ziomecki, "Les représentations d'artisans sur les vases attiques", Bibliotheca Antiqua (Ossolińskich, 1975), v.13, 22-33

Michael M. Eisman and Lucy Turnbull, "Robinson's Kiln Skyphos", American Journal of Archaeology (Boston, Massachusetts, 1978), 82.3, pp. 394-399

David Gordon Mitten and Amy Brauer, Dialogue with Antiquity, The Curatorial Achievement of George M. A. Hanfmann, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1982), p. 11, no. 15.

Virginia Norton Naudé, "Sculptural Monuments in an Outdoor Environment : A Conference Held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, November 2, 1983" (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Fairmount Park Art Association, 1985), pg. 42

Pamela J Russell and Kurt T Luckner, ed., Ceramics & Society : Making and Marketing Ancient Greek Pottery : The Tampa Museum of Art, February 20 to May 15, 1994, exh. cat. (Tampa, FL, 1994), 13-14

Jean-Jacques Maffre, "Une nouvelle représentation de potiers au travail: un skyphos attique à figures noires de l’Artémision de Thasos", Κουκούλη‐ Χρυσανθάκη, Χάϊδω; Muller, A.; Παπαδόπουλος, Στρατής (eds.), Θάσος : πρώτες ύλες και τεχνολογία από τους προϊστορικούς χρόνους ως σήµερα : Πρακτικά Διεθνούς Συνεδρίου, Λιµενάρια Θάσου (Athens, 1995), 269-278

Ingeborg Scheibler, "Attische Skyphoi für attische Feste", Antike Kunst (Basel, Switzerland, 2000), 43, p. 27, pl. 6, figs. 3-4

Massimo Vidale, L'idea di un lavoro lieve: il lavoro artigianale nelle immagini della ceramica greca tra VI. e IV. secolo a.C., Imprimitur Editrice (Padova, 2002), pp. 267-269, fig. 60

John Papadopoulos, "Ceramicus Redivivus: The Early Iron Age Potters' Field in the Area of the Classical Athenian Agora" (Athens, 2003), pg. 193, Fig. 3.2

Olaf Borgers, "The Theseus Painter: Style, Shapes and Iconography." (Amsterdam, 2004), pg. 87

Stamatis Fritzilas, "Winnowing and measuring of the grain in the ancient Greek art" (Technical Chamber of Greece, Athens, 2006)

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/Handbook (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008)

Dimitrios Yatromanolakis, ed., "An Archaeology of Representations: Ancient Greek Vase-Painting and Contemporary Methodologies" (Athens, 2009), pg. 318, Fig. 7 (a)

John Muccigrosso, "Re-interpreting the Robinson Skyphos", Studia Humaniora Tartuensia (2012), vol. 13 no. A.1

John Papadopoulos, Egraphsen kai epoiesen : meletes keramikēs kai eikonographias pros timēn tou kathēgētē Michalē Tiveriou = Essays on Greek Pottery and Iconography in Honour of Professor Michalis Tiverios, ed. Panos Valavanis and Eleni Manakidou, University Studio Press (Thessalonikē, 2014), p. 182, figs. 1a-d

John Oakley, A Guide to Scenes of Daily Life on Athenian Vases, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, 2020), pp. 47-48, fig. 2.1

Exhibition History

Dialogue with Antiquity: The Curatorial Achievement of George M.A. Hanfmann, Fogg Art Museum, 05/07/1982 - 06/26/1982

The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961

Fragments of Antiquity: Drawing Upon Greek Vases, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/15/1997 - 12/28/1997

Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 3400 Greek, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/24/2017 - 01/01/2050

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at