Ancient Roman Terra Sigillata North African Oil Lamp with Rooster

£ 395.00

An Ancient Roman oil lamp displaying the characteristic red slip of North African terra sigillata. The vessel features a long canal nozzle and a rounded body. To the top, the discus is decorated with a large rooster, sided by two filling holes. The shoulders, acting as a decorative border for the scene, feature a neatly drawn geometric pattern comprising concentric circles and squares. A lug handle extends outwards to the rear of the lamp for holding. The reverse presents a short circular base, centred by two concentric grooves.

Date: Circa mid 5th - mid 6th century AD
Condition: Fine condition; minor chips to the base ring, some earthy encrustations on the surface.

In stock

Oil lamps were originally called ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the 3rd century BC. Over time, the manufacture of lamps increased, and so did the variation in decoration, which depended mainly on the shape and size of the lamp. During the fourth and fifth century AD, North Africa started to produce oil lamps from red slip, much like this fine example, with large discus areas which allowed for numerous designs. This oil lamp falls under the so-called ‘Christian lamps’, Atlante X; Hayes IIA type, which holds characteristics from central Tunisia, one being the neatly drawn motives around the shoulder. Initially produced in Tunisia only, these oil lamps were broadly exported throughout the empire for about three centuries.

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

Weight 114.6 g
Dimensions L 11.9 x W 6.7 x H 3.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For a similar Atlante X, Hayes IIA oil lamp type, please see The Metropolitan Museum, item 74.51.2039

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