Ancient Roman One-Ring Suspension Terracotta Lamp


A rare Ancient Roman terracotta one-ring suspension lamp. Featuring a flat rim, separated from the flat discus by a continuous ridge surrounding most of the discus and nozzle, leaving a straight broad channel between discus and wick-hole. Symmetrically placed lug on each lower side of shoulder. Discus features a central ring handle for suspension with a filling-hole on each side. Protruding round-tipped nozzle. Base marked off by concentric circles.

Date: Circa 1st Century BC - 1st Century AD
Provenance: From a specialist collection of Roman oil lamps formed by Robertson Brockie (deceased), all acquired before 2008 from a central London ADA gallery; Southport Lancashire.
Condition: Very fine condition. Signs of aging to the surface


SKU: HB-44 Category: Tag:

The Roman oil lamp, a product almost unparalleled in its distribution throughout the Roman Empire, developed towards the end of the Greek Hellenistic period and was to keep its general shape longer than any other item of pottery throughout the Mediterranean. The vast trade networks set up with the expansion of the Roman empire allowed for this item to be spread across Europe, Eastern Asia and Northern Africa. Favourite subject for decoration of oil lamps included gods and mythological scenes, scenes from everyday life, gladiatorial depictions, drawings relating to entertainment and theatre, and various animals, such as fish and birds.

This lamp is a variant of the Firmalampen variety, also categorised as Loeschcke type X. It is defined by the broad chanel that flows from the discus to the nozzle, produced from the extension of the discuss rim to the tip of the lamp. The ‘firmalampen’ was one of the most widely used and exported lamps and examples exist with and without a suspension loop. Whilst the lamp itself would have been mould-made, the suspension handle would have been made by hand and applied to the body.

To discover more about oil lamps in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.

Weight 66.5 g
Dimensions L 8.45 x W 6.3 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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