Roman Oil Lamp with a Dove on a Branch


A Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a decorated concave discus. Within its centre is a dove sitting on an olive branch with a single filling hole located beneath the image. The scene is surrounded by three concentric circles and the lamp has a large, voluted nozzle. The reverse features a concentric circle marking a simple ring base. This lamp belongs to the Loeschcke type I B/C group, which is characterised by its lack of a handle, circular body, and wide angular nozzle flanked by two volutes.

Date: Circa 1st Century AD
Condition: Excellent condition. Very clear discus. Some discolouration consistent with age. Burn marks to the nozzle.

In stock

SKU: SK-11 Category: Tags: , ,

In Antiquity, a lamp was originally called a lychnus, from the Greek λυχνος, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the third century BC. During the Roman Empire, it became commonplace to use lamps in funeral ceremonies and for public purposes. 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, which led to the development of several provincial variations.

Birds appeared frequently on lamps in a variety of guises – songbirds, domestic fowl, water birds, and ones that were kept as exotic pets. The bird-on-a-branch motif was particularly common on lamps and mosaics.

To discover more about oil lamps in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.

Weight 45.4 g
Dimensions L 9.4 x W 6.6 x H 2.6 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar Loeschcke type I B/C style,The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.46 and for a similar discuss,The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.143

You may also like…