achtergrond.jpg
Miniature skyphos (drinking cup) of the locally produced ‘a filetti’ type. Scavi Kleibrink 1991-2004, Timpone della Motta. 2nd half 7th century BC. National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide, Sibari.
Miniature skyphos (drinking cup) of the locally produced ‘a filetti’ type. Scavi Kleibrink 1991-2004, Timpone della Motta. 2nd half 7th century BC. National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide, Sibari.

V.I.08. Miniature drinking cup with ‘a filetti’ rim, Athenaion, Timpone della Motta

With only a rim fragment missing this little cup is relatively well preserved. So far it is fairly unique because almost all other drinking cups of the skyphos-type are full-sized, i.e. about twice the size of this one.

This fact, together with the presence in the Athenaion of thousands of other miniature drinking cups of other types (kanthariskoi, kotyliskoi, etc.), makes it likely that the potter produced this miniature specimen as a special commission.

Why miniaturisation was deemed necessary is a question not easily answered. The custom to dedicate miniature pottery was widespread in Greece as well as in Magna Graecia, and pottery producing centres like Corinth not only exported large quantities but provided also miniatures for local users, such as the worshippers at the Heraion at Perachora.

The reasons behind the practice may have differed from sanctuary to sanctuary, but they were in all cases certainly associated with ritual. Miniature pots are useless in daily life but still refer to the original, full-size items, and this may have reinforced their ritual meaning. Even if a cup can’t actually be used for wine drinking, it still in a sense ‘spells it out’.

The object was found during the Scavi Kleibrink 1991-2004 on the Timpone della Motta. It is now in the National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide at Sibari.