A Terracotta Oil Lamp - Cupid (Eros) c. 1-2nd Cent AD


Terracotta Oil Lamp - Cupid (Eros)

Ancient Roman, Circa 1st- 2nd Century AD. 

Attractive and well-crafted mold-made buff-colored terracotta oil lamp of circular design. The body has a short rounded and heart-shaped spout, and the shoulder is set off from the body with molded grooves. The recessed central discus portrays a winged figure of Cupid (Eros). At the rear is a ring handle. The discus has filler and air holes. Intact and well preserved with some surface deposits.

For lamps of similar shape see Catalog of Lamps in the British Museum, III series of lamps excavated in Ephesus and now in the British Museum (Q3041-Q3067 and others).

Provenance: ex Midwestern private collection, acquired in Turkey c 1965.

Terracotta oil lamps were the primary means of artificial lighting in the villas, palaces and shops of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine Empires. They were usually filled with olive oil and held a wick. Linen was the most often used wick material.

Length: 3 5/8 inches

  • Inventory Number: PA-3505