Romano Egyptian Frog Lamp with Wheat Motif

£ 95.00

A Romano-Egyptian pottery frog oil lamp featuring a ovoid body with a prominent palm frond motif. Differing from its Roman counterparts, frog lamps were made from a grey clay and had thick walls. The lamp features a burning hole for the wick, nestled in the rounded nozzle and a central hole for oil pouring. Lamps of this type were mould-made and the stylised representation of a splayed frog, viewed from a birds-eye-view gives it its name. Decoration on such lamps was often highly stylised however and even included motifs not associated with the frog design – such as floral patterns and zoomorphic representations. This particular lamp features two raised volutes, ending in two large palm fronds. The reverse is plain with a flattened base.



Date: Circa 2nd - 4th century AD
Condition: Fine Condition; earthly encrustation covers the surface.


SKU: SA-75 Category:

Known as the ‘frog’ type, this particular lamp design seems to have been exclusively made for use in Egypt. Production began in the 2nd century AD and remained in use until the 4th century AD, with some examples dated up to the 7th century AD. Mould-made, the frog decoration on such lamps was often stylised, often to the point of obscurity.

The frog was a symbol used in Ancient Egypt to symbolise re-birth. The amphibian was associated with a number of gods, including Ptah – the god of creation. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the frog self-created, emerging from the marshy mud of the Nile as spawn to hatch into tadpoles and later develop into frogs. Frog amulets were thus worn by both the living and the dead. They were placed on mummies to rejuvenate and regenerate, whilst the living wore such amulets to encourage fertility.

Within Egypt’s Coptic Christian period the symbol of the frog continued to be used. It maintained its old association with re-birth. Oil lamps with a frog motif can be found in abundance; the lamp representing the sun and the frog the resurrection [of Christ].

The palm frond was a symbol used within Pagan, Christian and Islamic iconography. It symbolised victory, triumph over evil, peace, and eternal life depending on the culture it was used by. Within this Romano-Egyptian context, heavily influenced by Christian imagery it was a symbol for the defeat of Jesus over evil and his arrival into Jerusalem.

Weight 90.4 g
Dimensions L 7.5 x W 6.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For Similar: The British Museum, London, Item OA.4343