Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with Rosette


A Roman terracotta oil lamp, featuring a decorated concave discuss and a round-tipped volute nozzle. The discuss depicts a rosette with twenty-five petals and three concentric circles. A filling hole is displayed at the centre with part of the original wick visible. The scene is framed by two incised grooves. The lamp’s two volutes are placed between the discuss and nozzle. The lamp rests upon a ring foot.

This lamp belongs to the Loeschcke type IV, which is characterised by a narrow, rounded nozzle flanked by volute-spines, round shoulders and the absence of a handle.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd century AD
Condition: Fine condition, encrustation to the surface. Black pigment is visible around the nozzle from the burning of oil.


SKU: LD-568 Category: Tags: ,

The Roman oil lamp, a product almost unparalleled in its distribution throughout the empire, developed towards the end of the Hellenistic period and was to keep its general shape longer than any other item of pottery throughout the Mediterranean. The vast trade networks set up with the expansion of the Roman empire allowed for this item to be spread across Europe, Eastern Asia and Northern Africa. Oil lamps were used by the Romans for mainly three reasons; to light private and public spaces, to give as offerings in temples to the gods and to be placed within a grave or funerary context. As well as linear, geometric and circular designs, favourite subjects for decoration of oil lamps included gods and mythological scenes, scenes from everyday life, gladiatorial depictions, drawings relating to entertainment and theatre, and various animals, fish and birds.

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

Weight 69.9 g
Dimensions L 11.7 x W 8.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar item,The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.130

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