Museum, Roman art

Artefact: The Warren Cup

On this day (January, 8) in 1860 was born Edward Perry Warren, known as Ned Warren, an American art-lover and collector. Warren is now best known as the former owner of the Warren Cup, now exhibited in the British Museum.

Warren Cup, front view of a man and youth © Carole Raddato
Warren Cup, front view of a man and youth and a slave at the door
© Carole Raddato

The Warren Cup, created early in the first century AD, is a remarkably important and beautiful masterpiece of Roman art. It is made of silver with a little copper, and small traces of gold and lead. The scenes on either side show a pair of male lovers in low relief.

On one side (image above) the erastes (older, active lover) is bearded and wears a wreath while the eromenos (younger ‘beloved’, passive) is a beardless youth. A servant tentatively comes through a door. In the background is a draped textile, and a kithara (lyre) resting on a chest. (Source)

Warren Cup, side B © Carole Raddato
Warren Cup, back view of a youth and boy
© Carole Raddato

In the scene on the other side (image above) the erastes is beardless, while the eromenos is just a boy. Auloi (pipes) are suspended over the background textile, and folded textiles are lying on a chest. (Source)

To learn more about this luxurious silver cup, listen to this A History of the World in 100 Objects podcast about the Warren Cup.

Further photos of the Warren Cup can be viewed from my image collection on Flickr.

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