The Art Institute of Chicago

“Don’t be a donkey” may be the warning brayed to imbibing revelers by this watchful donkey-head rhyton (drinking vessel), now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Painted by Douris about 460 B.C., this Attic Greek pottery vessel measures nearly 8 inches long. Palmettes flank the handle. Partially visible above the white ears, a Dionysiac scene (appropriate to a drinking horn) shows a satyr pursuing a maenad (a female member of Dionysos’s retinue). In Bronze Age Greece, ritual pouring vessels often took the form of an animal head, a practice applied to ordinary vessels like this one in later periods.