Roman Oil Lamp with Crayfish and Heron


An Ancient Roman red terracotta oil lamp of a globular shape, featuring a short canal nozzle and one filling hole to the discuss. The discuss is finely decorated with the depiction of a crawfish and a heron. The surface is further enriched by a volutes decoration.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Provenance: Private Israel collection, SM. Israeli export license for the collection.
Condition: Fine, complete and intact. Signs of aging to the surface.


SKU: FP-133 Category: Tags: ,

Both animals depicted on the lamp’s discus held specific meanings in Ancient Roman culture. Crayfishes and crabs were usually associated with the constellation of Cancer, while herons were important birds associated with divination practices. Crawfishes’ and herons were also popular characters of Aesop’s fables, in which animals were anthropomorphised, acting like humans to provide a moral lesson to the reader. Ancient Romans translated Aesop’s fables from Greek into Latin. The stories were still popular in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.



Pottery and Porcelain