Roman North African Oil Lamp


A redware Roman oil lamp from North Africa, specifically Tunisia, featuring a decorated discus and deep shoulders. There are two filing holes to the centre and a lug handle to the rear of the lamp. The overall glaze is a dark brown colouring, suggesting the lamp had been over-fired slightly.

The discus depicts two intricate fish, detailed with scales and fins and both facing the same direction. Between them is a leaping ibex, distinguishable by the long horns and small hooved feet. The wide shoulders have been decorated with a foliage pattern.

Date: Circa 5th - 6th century AD
Provenance: From the collection of Arno Jumpertz, Leverkusen, Germany, 1924-1984. Much of the collection was exhibited at Neus museum, 1985.
Condition: Fine. Repair to nozzle.


SKU: AH-569 Category: Tags: , ,

The depiction of the two fish indicates a Christian connotation. The fish, known as Ichthys, was used from the 2nd century AD and became a wide-spread motif during the 3rd and 4th centuries. Ichthys, or ΙΧΘΥC in Greek, stood for ‘Jesus Christ, son of God, Saviour’ (Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υιός, Ζωτήρ). The acronym is made up of each first letter of the phrase, which was the basis of Christian belief and ideology. Fundamentally, it declares Jesus Christ had two natures, human and divine.

Weight 170.7 g
Dimensions L 12.9 x W 7.8 x H 4.8 cm
Christian Ideology


Pottery and Porcelain