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Wine Cup with Flirtation Scene
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Attributed to the Briseis Painter, vase-painter; and to Brygos, potter
Greek, Athens, about 480 - 470 B.C.
Terracotta
4 3/16 to 4 5/8 x 15 5/16 x 12 1/16 in.
86.AE.293

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Komasts or revelers frolic around the exterior of this Athenian red-figure cup. The men dance and hold drinking cups, while female attendants provide the music. The unusual feature of this vase is the odd way the men are dressed. They wear long chitons and turban-like headdresses, and attendants shelter them with parasols. Several dozen vases with similarly dressed revelers survive. Scholars call these scenes of men in fancy dress Anakreontic, after the poet Anakreon, who came to Athens from East Greece in the late 500s B.C. Scholars do not agree on how to interpret this costume. Because the men's clothing is similar to that of the women in the scene, some scholars see the men as transvestites dressing up as women. Other scholars point out that this clothing was suitable male attire in the Greek colonies on the coast of Turkey and in the neighboring kingdom of Lydia. They see the adoption of Eastern dress for symposia, or drinking parties, as part of a larger infiltration of East Greek art and ideas into Athenian culture beginning in the 520s B.C. A quieter scene decorates the interior of the cup, with a young man offering a flower to a standing woman holding a mirror.


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