This skyphos originally depicted four cupids engaged in Bacchic activities, a fitting subject for a wine cup. The missing fragment of this relief is published in E. Errington, ed., Crossroads of Asia, 1992, p. 95. The fragment shows two cupids interspersed with trees. One cupid is holding a staff in the crook of his arm and a bunch of grapes, and to his left is part of tree that is continued on the present example. The second cupid has a pillar with a fluted basin on a pedestal behind him, and is facing a head of Silenus on a low pedestal. Beyond is another tree with a dog turned to the right, and the wing of the cupid that is still extant on the cup.
The handle plate ornament, with scrolling and naturalistic duck heads, derives from Early Imperial silver from Pompeii and elsewhere, and continues into the 2nd and 3rd centuries. For related ornament on a patera handle of the 1st century, from the House of Menander in Pompeii, see L. Stefanelli, L'Argento dei Romani, Vasellame da Tavola e D'Apparato, 1990, no. 148. For similar ornament on a 2nd century casserole handle found at Chatuzange in 1888, now in the British Museum, see F. Baratte, et al., Tresors D'Orfevrerie Gallo-Romains, 1989, no. 192.