This type of lamps, made from a mould, was produced only from the Late Augustan (early 1st century AD) to the Early Nerva-Antonine dynasty (first third of the second century AD). Across the Roman Empire, a lamp was originally called a ‘lychnus‘, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the third century BC. During the Roman Empire, the variation in decoration increased. Common decorative themes depicted on the discus included entertainment scenes, common myths, deities, and even animals. Combat scenese between animals and humans were a popular decorative motif, echoing real life combats between bestiarii, Romans beast-fighters, and wild animals during the games in Roman amphiteatres, known as venationes.
Ancient Roman Oil Lamp with Venatio
An Ancient Roman oil lamp finely moulded from terracotta, featuring a short, volutes canal nozzle and a decorated discus with one filling hole. The discus holds the moulded depiction of a male figure, a bestiarius, being attacked by two animals, possibly a scene referred to the venationes games in the Roman arenas. This lamp belongs to the Loeschcke type IV, which is characterised by rounded nozzle flanked by volute-spines, round shoulders and an absence of handle.
Provenance: Private Israel collection, SM. Israeli export license for the collection.
Condition: Fine condition with signs of ageing on the surface. Restored.