Conical Drinking Cup (Rhyton)
Unknown artist, Mycenaean, Greece
Conical Drinking Cup (Rhyton), 14th century BCE
29.8 x 12.7 cm (11 3/4 x 5 inches) (maximum)
Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 2006.72
While this object is made of painted ceramic, the earliest vessels of this type were made of metal, and examples in marble and faience are also known. Pierced at the bottom to allow the contents to flow out, this conical drinking vessel (rhyton) was used in rituals, most likely to pour liquid offerings to the gods or to the dead. On rare occasions such vessels have been found in burials on mainland Greece. This one may have come from Mycenae, a wealthy and powerful fortified settlement in the northern Peloponnese. The Mycenaeans adopted this vessel shape from the Minoans, who lived on the island of Crete and were the dominant group in the Aegean area prior to Mycenean ascension.