Attic Cup with Animal Frieze, Droop type
Period: third quarter of the 6th century B.C. (ca. 550-530).
Dimensions: H: 13.2 cm; Diam: 21.9 cm.
Sotheby’s New York, November 29th 1989, n. 54.
The cup is practically complete but was reassembled (only some small fragments are restored). The foot had already been broken and repaired during Antiquity; a lead tenon holds it in place.
This kylix has a particularly elegant form: a trumpet foot, a hemispherical body (with the rim curved slightly outwards) and two thin, horizontal handles. The black and purple decoration is precise and varied. The three main friezes, intersected by horizontal bands and netlike patterns, are composed of: a) rays, near the foot; b) a range of miniature animals, painted in black silhouette and drawn upside down (the feet are positioned towards the lip of the container); among them, one can identify roosters, geese, panthers and grazing hinds; c) a succession of lotus buds and half-circles, interrupted only by the handles. The foot, the rim and the interior of the cup (except for a reserved medallion) are entirely glazed in black. The artistic and technical skills of the workmanship on this cup approach that of the finest Attic potteries of the 6th century B.C. in its high level of quality.
The Droop-cups (named after the scholar who first collected some pieces of this type in the early 20th century) belong to the category of Little Masters cups. Compared to those, they are characterized by a rim that is more differentiated from the cup’s profile, and they bear a lotus (or palmette) frieze; even a silhouetted frieze of animals.
On the Droop-cups:
BOARDMAN J., Athenian Black Figure Vases, A Handbook, London, 1980, pp. 61-62.
URE P.N., Droop Cup in Journal of Hellenic Studies 52, 1932, p. 55ss.