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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. 400-500AD, Holy Land.

Superb mold-made terracotta oil lamp. Ovoid in shape with sharp carination, angled ridge around wick-hole and fill-hole, which is also bordered by a ring of vertical lines and raised dots. Large triangular handle with a stylized male head in high relief. The oil lamp sits on a flat base with a slightly raised ring foot. Residual soot can be seen from the burning of oils around the wick hole.

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 and heavy abrasion. Rich earthen deposits. Gorgeous patina. Size approx. 10,8cm x 5,6cm x 5,0cm.

Provenance: Danish private collection. 


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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