Ancient Art International

Ancient Christian or Jewish Oil Lamp

Item Number: 744
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C. 5th - 8th CE
3 1/4" (8.5 cm)
Baked Terracotta
Good with two very slight original cracks radiating from the spout.
Middle East
Acquired by the present owner in Tel Aviv in 1971


Unusual ancient flat, round baked terracotta oil lamp of late Byzantine to early Islamic manufacture. The top with an attractive radiating line decoration, the bottom undecorated. Lamps of this type have been discovered in Jerash, bearing an inscription in Arabic stating dates from the eighth century, the name of the potter (?), and Jerash as the place of manufacture. We also know of a lamp of this type which bears a Christian inscription, similar to the Byzantine lamps. Ref. "Oil Lamps from Erete Israel", the Louis & Carmen Warshaw Collection at the Israel Museum. Similar pieces have been found in Byzantine, Jewish and Islamic sites in Syria and Palestine.

"Inscriptions show that they were in use at least until the middle of the eighth century CE." See QEDEM "Monograph of the Institute of Archaeology, Ancient Lamps in the Schloessinger Collection." lamps 578 and 579.

Accompanied by copies of pages from reference works.

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