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Holy Land Pottery Oil Lamp

Holy Land Pottery Oil Lamp

Regular price €245,00
Regular price Sale price €245,00
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Umayyad Empire, Early Byzantine Period, c. 600-700AD, Holy Land.

Fabulous, mold-made terracotta oil lamp featuring a pointed oval body and a prominent conical handle. To the top, the lamp displays a large filling-hole (discus) with a pronounced rim, decorated with a delicate palm branch design. Vertical ribbing on the shoulder and a channel around the fill-hole. The reverse embellished with the raised palm branch and cross motifs. Circular base ring forming an raised nine-spoked wheel.

Small-sized earthenware oil lamps, made from double molds, were used in temples, churches, synagogues, and mosques but were also one of the most essential household appliances in antiquity. A wick produced from plant fiber or linen fabric was placed in a reservoir filled with oil, generally castor or sesame oil, and illuminated. Throughout the Holy Land and its neighbouring regions, clay lamps were frequently decorated with motifs and symbols of various kinds, often religious. Holy Land lamps, such as this excellent example, have mostly been recovered in Khirbet el-Mefjer near Ain el-Sultan, Jericho. They appeared at the beginning of the 7th century AD and became widespread during the Umayyad Empire (c. 661-750 AD), marking profound changes to the local material culture brought by the Moslem conquest of the region. 

Good condition. Age-related wear with light deposits. Chip and abrasion around the wick hole. Nozzle had even traces of soot. Gorgeous patina. Size approx. 9,0cm x 7,9cm x 4,6cm.

Provenance: Danish private collection. 

For a similar examples see:

Lamp, The British Museum, Accession Number: OA+.13900 (

References and further reading:

Light and Life: Ancient Christian Oil Lamps of the Holyland (Studium Biblicum S.) Stanislao Loffreda, Franciscan Printing Press, 2001.

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