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A wide cup with large handles on either side and a low foot.

This wide, bowl like cup has a smooth, almost black finish and incised lines and decorative motifs. Handles at either side extend upward from the rim in an elegant loop that rejoins at the base of the cup. A short stem flares outward to form a flat circular base. The wall of the cup is decorated with a band running around the center, that features an embossed pattern of a line of animals and mythical creatures in profile. Three thin incised lines accent the rim, and the base is banded with a line of small triangular forms.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Kantharos (drinking cup)
Work Type
600-575 BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Archaic period
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3400, Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art, Ancient Greece in Black and Orange
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Physical Descriptions

Overall with handles: H. 16.1 x W. 22.2 cm (6 5/16 x 8 3/4 in.)
Dia. of cup: 14.7 cm (5 13/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
John Kirtland Wright, New York, (by 1917-1969), by descent; to his daughter, Mary Wolcott Wright Toynbee, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, (1969-2014), gift; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2014.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mary Wright Toynbee and her cousin, Benjamin Tappan Wright, in honor of their grandfather, John Henry Wright, and of his son, Mary's father, John Kirtland Wright
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This kantharos (cup with two vertical handles) is made of bucchero, a type of pottery fired black, and is embellished with a frieze of animals and monsters in relief. A chimera is followed by a griffin, a wild goat, horse, and sphinx. The repeating pattern was created by rolling a cylindrical stamp over the vessel’s surface before it was completely dry, a technique referred to as "rouletting". The polish and relief decoration of bucchero vessels evoke metal.
The frieze on the fragmentary bucchero kantharos 2007.104.30 was made by the same stamp as this object and, hence, in the same potter's workshop. Finds from the area suggest that this workshop was located at Orvieto.

Publication History

  • George H. Chase and Mary Zelia Pease, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, U.S.A.: volume 8, Fogg Museum and Gallatin Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1942), p. 46, pl. 28, no. 7
  • Buccheri a cilindretto de fabbrica orvietana (Florence, 1972), p. 29, no. 1
  • Pietro Tamburini, Appunti sul bucchero: atti delle giornate di studio, ed. Alessandro Naso (Florence, 2004), pp. 179-222, 200-201, Type 2b, pl. 6

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 3400 Greek, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Related Works

Verification Level

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