Greek Hellenistic Ephesus Oil Lamp


A beautiful example of a Greek bright orange terracotta oil lamp from the Hellenistic period, classified as Ephesus type. The lamp features a circular body, an elongated round nozzle, plain discus with four filling holes, and a single, applied hoop handle. The lamp’s shoulders are finely decorated with moulded daisies, a popular decorative motif seen on many examples of Hellenistic artistic production. Traces of the combustion of the wick are visible on the flat plate that surrounds the mouth of the lamp. The reverse appears flat and unworked.

Date: Circa 2nd – 1st century BC
Condition: Very fine condition, complete and intact with some encrustations to the surface.


SKU: FP-309 Category: Tag:

Oil lamps featuring this particular shape are known as ‘Ephesus Lamps’, despite the fact that their production was not limited to this geographical site. ‘Ephesus Lamps’ usually display biconical bodies, elongated nozzles, and were mainly decorated with floral and foliage patterns and motives rather than human figures. Their production started in Asia Minor at the beginning of the 2nd century BC, and ended about a century later, at the start of the 1st century BC. The production of oil lamps in the Roman Empire originated from the contacts with the Greek colonies of Southern Italy. Indeed, it is thanks to the Greeks that they learnt this skill, to such an extent that lamps were called ‘lychnoi’, from the Greek ‘λυχνοι’.

Weight 73.8 g
Dimensions L 12.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item, The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.356