ostracon ancient art



Attic Cup-Skyphos, Torch-Race Ceremony, 425-400 BC

Rare Attic red-figure cup-skyphos with draped young men.

The athletes on the left wear the spiked wreath for the winner of the torch-race and stand opposite draped youths.

Some hold a strigilis in their outstretched right hand.

The scene represents a ceremony performed after winning the torch-race.

In this type of race, a torch was passed in a relay. The goal was to finish the race with the torch still burning. As a reward the winning team was allowed to light the fire for the sacrifices at the altar.

As for torch-race's wreaths, cf. Beazley Archive fragments 11958 and 260050.

The inside of the rim with reserved ivy leaves. Palmettes and side tendrils near to the upward curved handles.

Standing on a molded ring base, the reserved bottom with a band and circles around a central dot.

Rare shape with dense, high quality glaze. Reassambled from three large fragments. Missing handle and two small shards restored. The applied white on the crown of one of the athletes has faded. Elbow of the same athlete redrawn.

H. rim 8.1 cm (3.2 in), D. 14.4 cm (5.7 in)
W. over handles 21.3 cm (8.4 in)

Ex German private collection Hessen, acquired before 1980. Thence German art market.

3600 USD

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Literature: Peter E. Corbett. "Attic Pottery of the Later Fifth Century from the Athenian Agora", in: Hesperia, Vol. 18, No. 4, American Excavations in the Atherian Agora: Thirty-Eighth Report (Oct.-Dec., 1949), pp. 298-351.

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