An ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a small, rounded body leading to a delicate, triangular-shaped nozzle. The body features a carinated shoulder, from which the walls of the central discus gradually taper into a rounded filling hole. A tongue handle is finely moulded to the rear, emphasising the simplified aesthetical appeal presented by this fine example.
This object is mounted in a custom made frame.
Date: Circa AD 1st -5th century AD Condition: Fine condition, minor chips around the refilling hole. Signs of ageing and earthy encrustation remain visible to the surface.
During 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. It is thought that the Romans took the idea for lamps from the Greek colonies of Southern Italy. During the Roman Empire, it became commonplace to use lamps in funeral ceremonies and for public purposes. 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. Common decorative themes depicted on the discus were entertainment scenes (such as gladiators in combat), common myths, and animals. Pottery oil lamps could be made in three different ways: handmade, wheel made, or by mould. The use of the mould (which was made from clay or plaster) quickly became popular, because one mould could produce several lamps.
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