Roman Oil Lamp with Cupid

$653.40

A small Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a large, rounded body with a rounded nozzle. A lug handle is placed at the rear of the lamp. The discus is decorated with Cupid, in deep relief, carrying the club of Herakles. He holds an arrow in his other hand. Concentric circles frame the discus. A maker’s mark has been stamped on the reverse. This type of lamp is known as Loeschcke VIII (Bussiére form D II 1), of which there were many variants of.

Date: Circa AD 80 - 180
Provenance: Private Israel collection, SM. Israeli export license for the collection.
Condition: Excellent. Details clear and defined.

In stock

Product Code: AH-606
Category: Tags: ,

Upon the discus the maker has depicted Cupid carrying the club of Herakles, the legendary hero. This representation was popular in the 1st  to 3rd centuries and shows that love can overcome and subdue even the greatest hero. Cupid, a personification of love, has rendered Herakles useless, his club a metaphor for the hero’s strength and force.

Upon the reverse, the Maker’s mark, M NOV I V S T, can be seen. This refers to the tripartite name of the Justus family, M. Novius Justus, who were a prominent family of lamp-makers in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Large numbers of lamps bearing this signature have been found in North Africa, with the workshop believed to have been situated in El Djem, Tunisia. Maker’s marks and stamps decline in use from the third quarter of the 2nd century. Lamps themselves also tend to be inferior in quality compared to their 1st century counterparts, so a signature of pride seemed unnecessary.

Weight 49.7 g
Dimensions L 10 x W 7 cm
Culture

Pottery and Porcelain

Region

,

Roman Mythology

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Reference: The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.105

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