Signed Terracotta Oil Lamp - Bust of a Goddess c. 2nd Cent AD


Signed Terracotta Oil Lamp - Bust of a Goddess with Cornucopia, Ancient Roman, Circa 2nd Century AD. 

Attractive large mold-made glazed terracotta oil lamp of circular design. The body has a short rounded spout, and the shoulder is set off from the body with molded grooves. The recessed central discus portrays the facing bust of a Goddess wearing a peaked (Phrygian?) headdress, and with a cornucopia to her left. At the rear is a ring handle, and on the bottom is a raised disc base with the impressed signature/makers mark “ATTIA…”.  Intact and well preserved with some surface deposits.

For lamps of similar shape see Catalog of Lamps in the British Museum, III series of lamps excavated in Ephesus and now in the British Museum (Q3041-Q3067).

Provenance: ex Midwestern private collection, acquired in Turkey c 1964.

In the villas, palaces and shops of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine Empires terracotta oil lamps were the primary means of artificial lighting. They were usually filled with olive oil and held a wick (linen was the most often used material). They burned for hours to light up the ancient world. The rich, in their villas, needed hundreds; the poor had only a few.

Length: 4.25 inches

  • Inventory# PA-3335
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