North African Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with Rosettes


An Ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a sturdy biconical body and an outward-sloping shoulder, separated from the sunken discus by a raised rim. Five rosettes decorate the shoulder together with three draping grooves to the front. The cylindrical nozzle is reminiscent of Loeschcke type IX lamps, displaying a bevelled top and a rounded flat tip. The reverse features a circular base marked by a shallow groove. Some of the original deep red slip remains on the vessel.

Date: Circa 1st Century AD
Provenance: Ex major S.M., London, Collection 1970-2010.
Condition: Fine Condition.


The Roman oil lamp, originally called a ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, has been almost unparalleled in its distribution throughout the Empire. First developed towards the end of the Hellenistic period, oil lamps were to keep their general shape longer than any other item of pottery throughout the Mediterranean. The vast trade networks set with the expansion of the Roman Empire allowed this item to be spread across Europe, Eastern Asia and Northern Africa.

Weight 49.8 g
Dimensions L 10.5 x W 7.2 cm

Pottery and Porcelain