The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of August 27, 2016

Eye Cup, c. 520 BC

red-figure terracotta, Diameter: w. 6.40 cm (2 1/2 inches); Overall: 11.20 x 33.60 cm (4 3/8 x 13 3/16 inches); Diameter of rim: w. 26.00 cm (10 3/16 inches); Diameter of foot: w. 10.20 cm (4 inches). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1976.89

Psiax was one of the first black-figure artists to paint in red-figure. On some of his vases he painted in both red- and black-figure. Vases with this unique combination are called bilingual. Slightly more than a dozen of his red-figure works are known, and yet he is considered one of the great masters of that technique as well. His figures are elegant and graceful, and his compositions dramatic.
The eyes on this type of cup were originally meant to fend off the power of the "evil eye." However, they had another, more humorous result. As the drinker raised the cup to his lips, it transformed itself into a monstrous face - on either side of the wild, glaring eyes, the two handles became ears, and the foot of the cup became a snout.
Side A: Warriors
Side B: Cithara concert
Tondo: Four palmettes
Foot: (owner's name incised)

Graffitto on underside of foot

Antikenmuseum, Basel (since before 1971-76); "The World of Ceramics: Masterpieces from the Cleveland Museum of Art," Cleveland Museum of Art, 30 June-5 September 1982, 13, no. 15.

Detail Views