Mold-made Ptolemaic lamps, such as this, would have been a forerunner for Roman oil lamps. They would have likely have been made in Alexandria. The familiarity of making items from molds, such as faience amulets, and the readily-available plaster would have allowed potters and lamp makers to easily transition from wheel-made lamps.
Rare Ptolemaic Egyptian Oil Lamp
A rare Egyptian clay oil lamp from the Ptolemaic period featuring a large, circular body with a slender, tapering nozzle. Three small knobs appear at the top and sides. There is a large filling hole to the centre, surrounded by relief decoration. To the reverse is a slightly raised foot, concaving inwards and decorated with a rosette. Traces of a lighter, dark brown-red slip still evident.
The large central discus depicts two cupids with a palmette between them. Other geometric patterning acts as a filler between the two cupids.
Period: Hellenistic period
Provenance: From the collection of Arno Jumpertz, Leverkusen, Germany, 1924-1984. Much of the collection was exhibited at Neus museum, 1985.
Condition: Fine. Small hole to discus. Loss of glaze.