About the Collection

For my collection, I chose to pull items that were in the public domain, made available through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This provided me with readily available high quality images, as well as a variety of metadata, which interestingly varied in standardization, dates in particular. 

I sought out vessels that were specifically described as drinking vessels, and not merely vases. Some served ceremonial purposes, but when possible, I tried to find objects that may have been actually used in daily lives. However, I also chose very ornate objects, to display the interesting kinds of ornamentation added to these utilitarian items. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection does tend to be more robust in certain areas of the world than others, but my curated sampling covers 5 continents and 16 different countries. A world map is included in this site, with the approximate locations marked. Sometimes only a country name was available, and in these instances, the place marker was put towards the center of the modern country. When a specific empire or culture was named, a central location of the historic borders around the time the object was created was chosen. In a few instances, specific cities were named. 

The 20 items vary in age from an earthenware cup created by the C-Group in Nubia between 1900 to 1550 BCE, to a Brooklyn made cordial glass cut between 1850 and 1855. 

Drinking vessels range from simple, everyday objects, to fancy and delicate specimens brought out for parties and special occasions. They vary in shape and size, but when viewed as a whole, a few categories emerged. 

Tapered goblets with stems

These include all wine glasses, goblets, and one cordial glass


The tumbler, tankard, Zhi, Quero, and Mayan vessel share this simple shape

Bowls with one or two handles

Several wine and drinking cups from India, Japan, the Avar culture, the Russian Charka, and the Greek Kantharos fit within this group. 


Drinking horns and rhytons, which often depicted the heads of animals.