Early Islamic oil lamps, such as this fine example, have mostly been recovered in Khirbet el-Mefjer, near Jericho. They appeared at the beginning of the 7th century AD and became widespread during the Umyyad period (7th – 8th century AD), marking profound changes to the local material culture brought by the Moslem conquest of the region. The high degree of uniformity found in the production of oil lamps in the Syrian-Eretz Israel region was the result of the unification of large areas under a centralised government.
Early Islamic Terracotta Oil Lamp
An Early Islamic terracotta oil lamp featuring a pointed oval body and a prominent conical handle. To the top, the vessel displays a large filling-hole with a pronounced rim. This is surrounded by an additional ridge which extends onto the nozzle and around the wick-hole, forming a straight channel decorated with a x-shape in relief. The shoulders are richly decorated with symmetrical geometrical patterns in a ‘Horror vacui’ fashion typical of Early Islamic lamps. The reverse remains unadorned, with the exception of a circular base ring forming an eight-spoked wheel.
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Fine condition, with some signs of ageing to the surface