Animals were frequently represented on North African oil lamps, although the bull was not a usual choice. It was much admired for its power, as is testified by its depiction in Roman art, and was often associated with the cult religion of Mithras. In this case, however, its representation was more likely intended as a reference to the popularity of the bull in the gladiatorial games arena.
Provenanced Roman Redware Oil Lamp
A Roman redware pottery oil lamp. The discus is finely decorated with a bull charging to the right, within a perimeter of geometric designs. The handle is solid, and the lamp stands on a low ring base.
Provenance: From the collection of Arno Jumpertz, Leverkusen, Germany, 1924-1984. Much of the collection was exhibited at Neus museum, 1985.
Condition: A repair to the nozzle and a chip to top edge; Fine condition generally, the bull decoration crisp and clear.