The Corinthian type skyphos is so called because the form copies examples found at Corinth which are known for their particularly thin walls. Though occassionally entirely black glazed, examples more commonly have a reserved band above the foot, sometimes decorated with vertical lines, cross-hatching or added red. A distinctive characteristic is the decoration on the raised circle of the underside which almost invariably consists of a dotted circle, and a further circle with a much larger circumference. The use of a red band on Corinthian type skyphoi took two forms: a single thick band or two very fine ones. Both are solely found on skyphoi with this reserved band above the foot, and ceased to be used altogether by the end of the fifth century BC.
The skyphos (pl. skyphoi) was the most commonly used plain drinking cup in Athens and was manufactured from the mid-sixth to the fourth centuries BC. It is thought that the shape derives from a wooden vessel used as a milking pail. The body and foot of the skyphos were formed together in one piece on the potter’s wheel, removed and left in the sun. Just before it reached the leather-hard stage, the vessel was returned to the wheel, placed upside down, and the underside of the foot was hollowed out. The skyphos has a deep body, plain rim and low foot. The distinctively small handles on these cups were primarily used as thumb rests whilst the hand held the body of the cup. It has been suggested that they were also used for hanging the cup when not in use, much like one sees today with coffee mugs. The shape of these handles developed over time from bell to horseshoe and finally triangular. In this catalogue we present two of the main varieties; the Attic and Corinthian.