The kylix, a typical cup for drinking wine, exclusively depicts scenes from symposia, or drinking parties. On the exterior, five men reclining on klinai are engaged in drinking from a kylix, singing, playing the lyre and double flute, and playing kottabos, deftly throwing the wine contained in a kylis and making it whirl rapidly. The participants are entertained by a female flautist and assisted by a young servant who draws the wine (mixed with water, in accordance with Greek custom) from a large krater placed on the ground. Below this scene, a frieze illustrates different forms of vessel typical of the symposium. On the central internal tondo, a bearded symposiast on a kline – who has drunk to excess and is about to regurgitate into the basin held below – is assisted by a young woman, dressed in a transparent and densely pleated chiton, possibly one of the refined courtesans (etere) who participated in symposia in ancient Greece.
This prized work dates from the intermediate phase of the production of Douris, a prolific Attic ceramic painter and among the most original, active between 500 and 470 B.C.