Roman Clay Lamp Mould

£ 195.00

A clay lamp mould from the Roman province of Judaea, present-day Palestine, offering a rare glimpse into the prolific oil lamp production of the ancient Mediterranean. This mould would have been used to create the upper part of a pottery oil lamp. The main body is formed from red clay in an ovoid shape, with counter-relief decoration of a floral motif following a circular pattern around the centre of the object. A small ring shape is impressed beneath the main area of decoration, which would have formed the nozzle of the oil lamp made from this mould. The piece bears one minor chip on its side. The reverse is slightly curved and bears a circle of twelve small pricked holes with another hole in their centre.

Date: Circa 2nd – 3rd Century AD.
Provenance: Formerly in a Palestinian collection, purchased in Sebastia in 1963.
Condition: Stable condition; natural weathering; one small chip on the object’s side.
Product Code: RES-167
Category: Tag:

Originally called a ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, oil lamps were mass produced during the Roman era, becoming almost unparalleled in their distribution throughout the Empire. The vast trade networks set with the expansion of the Roman Empire allowed this item to be spread across Europe, Eastern Asia and Northern Africa, which led to the development of several provincial variations. One of the most common methods of production for pottery oil lamps was through the use of a mould like this one. Moulds were particularly useful for oil lamps bearing intricate decoration on the discus, as multiple editions of the decorated upper portion could be quickly and identically made using a single mould.

To discover more about the ancient origins of oil lamps, visit our relevant post: Oil Lamps in Antiquity.

Dimensions L 8.8 x H 2.2 cm



Southern Europe

You may also like…