A beautiful Ancient Roman mould made grayware terracotta oil lamp. The lamp features a long canal nozzle with volutes and a hollowed discus with one filling hole. The discus is decorated with three concentric lines surrounding the moulded depiction of Leda, leaning towards a swan, in the act of embracing and kissing. Anatomical features of Leda are softly rendered and the plumage of the swan is delicately modelled. The lamp’s style refers to the Loeschcke type I, a style popular during Augustan and Imperial times.
Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD Provenance: From the collection of Arno Jumpertz, Leverkusen, Germany, 1924-1984. Much of the collection was exhibited at the Neus Museum, 1985. Condition: Fine. Signs of aging and earthly encrustations on the surface.
According to Greek Mythology, Zeus took many different forms in order to seduce and mate with his desired partners. He took the form of a swan to seduce Leda, a beautiful Spartan queen who he greatly admired. Seeking protection from a pursuing eagle, the swan fell into her arms. Their consummation took place on the banks of the river Eurotas. Resulting from the union with the god was the generation of two eggs, from which hatched Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra and Castor and Pollux. Leda and the swan was a popular subject in ancient art, strongly linked with Homer’s Iliadic epic poem.