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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. 600-800AD, Holy Land.

Excellent small-sized mold-made terracotta oil lamp featuring a oval body and a  triangular handle. Angled shoulders decorated with laurel-wreaths and vine scrolls. To the top, the lamp displays a large filling-hole (discus) with a pronounced rim. This is surrounded by an additional ridges which extends onto the nozzle and around the wick-hole, decorated with a linear and dotted pattern, possibly a palm branch, in relief. The reverse unadorned. Nozzle still charred from ancient use.

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 light wear. Minor chip in the wick-hole. Rich earthen deposits. Gorgeous patina. Size approx. 8,7cm x 5,4cm x 2,5cm.

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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