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Lamp

Lamp

Israel, second half 3rd-5th century C.E.
  • Clay: mold-formed and fired
  • 2 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 in. (5.7 x 14 x 10.8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the Betty and Max Ratner Collection, 1981-75
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The Iron Age, open-bowl style of oil lamps eventually developed into the closed form you see here. The closed top prevents spillage of the oil. Many lamps of this shape with from three to eight wick holes in a row across the front were found in tombs. Since one-wick lamps are still being produced at this time the significance of the multiple wicks is unknown.

Discuss:

  • Compare this oil lamp to the earlier example. How are they similar? How are they different?

  • How many wick holes does this lamp have? Why do you think it has so many?

  • Why do you think this lamp is more decorated than the others are? How do you think the decorations were produced?

  • Which one would you prefer to use? Why?