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Author Topic: Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info  (Read 536 times)

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Jj W

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Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info
« on: October 06, 2021, 03:08:34 pm »
(I'm pasting this same intro into all my first posts to level set. Thanks for your patience)
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Hello all,


I'm new here.  Please be kind :)

So I recently found out about auctions for ancient coins and artifacts.  I've mostly just been buying things that feel interesting or give me a good feeling.  I have always loved archeology and history, and also been a minor coin collector since childhood.

I'm not really collecting as an investment, more as a form of time travel.  I just love touching and holding these objects and imagining who may have held it when it was newer.  Having some kind of historical context to these objects is what I am mostly after. 

Also, I am strongly interested in attempting to restore everything to as close to what it looked like when it was new(er).  I don't want to destroy anything, but I also do want to be "aggressive" in the restoration efforts in an attempt to do so.

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So with this object I'm looking for

1. Any info you all might think about it.
2. Best advice to attempt to restore it.
     a. It seems very encrusted with very hard mineral content.
     b. I've been soaking it for about a week now in tap water.

Thank you for reading and I really do appreciate your time and look forward to learning more and being part of your community.

All the best,
JJ Walker

Offline v-drome

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Re: Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2021, 08:25:40 pm »
Hi Jj.  Welcome to Forum Ancient Coins.  To me your lamp appears to be authentic, but I am not an expert, and someone else may weigh in with a different opinion.  Here is a link to an excellent website created by one of the moderators of this section of the discussion boardhttp://www.romulus2.com/lamps/   This site has a number of very interesting articles and a section on fake lamps, as well.  On the third page of the catalogue is lamp number RIW2 from 3rd-4th century A.D. Central Italy, which seems very similar to yours. 

With regard to restoring ancient artifacts, you should consider that the ancient patina is part of what authenticates an object and proves its antiquity.  It becomes a part of the history of the object, and I can't think of anything you could do that would not look like an alteration or artificial enhancement to what is now (assuming it is authentic) a very attractive piece!



Offline v-drome

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Re: Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2021, 01:47:54 am »
Another thought.  I would imagine that obtaining an authentic ancient artifact in "new" condition would be extremely difficult and expensive.  The alternative then might be to seek a museum quality replica if you want to know what these objects originally looked like.  However, objects such as oil lamps, and even coins for the most part, were utilitarian and disposable, and not often considered highly finished works of art.  Your lamp probably looks very similar to the way it looked when it was in use some 1700 years ago.  If what you want is to hold history in your hand, then what you want is what you got!

Jj W

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Re: Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2021, 11:23:52 am »
Hi Jj.  Welcome to Forum Ancient Coins.  To me your lamp appears to be authentic, but I am not an expert, and someone else may weigh in with a different opinion.  Here is a link to an excellent website created by one of the moderators of this section of the discussion boardhttp://www.romulus2.com/lamps/   This site has a number of very interesting articles and a section on fake lamps, as well.  On the third page of the catalogue is lamp number RIW2 from 3rd-4th century A.D. Central Italy, which seems very similar to yours. 

With regard to restoring ancient artifacts, you should consider that the ancient patina is part of what authenticates an object and proves its antiquity.  It becomes a part of the history of the object, and I can't think of anything you could do that would not look like an alteration or artificial enhancement to what is now (assuming it is authentic) a very attractive piece!

Another thought.  I would imagine that obtaining an authentic ancient artifact in "new" condition would be extremely difficult and expensive.  The alternative then might be to seek a museum quality replica if you want to know what these objects originally looked like.  However, objects such as oil lamps, and even coins for the most part, were utilitarian and disposable, and not often considered highly finished works of art.  Your lamp probably looks very similar to the way it looked when it was in use some 1700 years ago.  If what you want is to hold history in your hand, then what you want is what you got!

Wow thank you very much for finding that!  It really does look similar to what I've got here.

What I am noticing in the various responses to my posts here is that the idea of restoring something to closer to it's original condition is like heresy :)  I certainly understand this perspective, and I pretty much followed this my whole life.  We have some inherited China sets and old silverware that we kept on display.  Then I thought about it a lot and decided that my ancestors may have actually really enjoyed that their descendants were actually getting use out of these things and maybe even feeling more connected to them.  So now we use them for any special occasion we can come up with. 

So basically, I've kind of extended this out to my artifact and coin acquisitions.  I know that most (all?) of the monetary value is lost, but the psychological value is so high for me and those whom I share it with.  You should have seen this little girl's face when I let her put on an ancient Roman ring after explaining a little about the Romans.  She got so fired up that she shared this with tons of her friends who now won't leave me alone with questions about the Romans

I don't know.  I can really see the merits of both positions.  I mean, my restoration work could destroy the objects, or reduce their life, etc. 

Offline Strobilus2

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Re: Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2021, 12:45:18 pm »
Jimi (v-drome) is absolutely spot on. He has very accurately identified your lamp and it is undoubtedly authentic.

However, I find it interesting that your response devoted only a very brief thank-you for the identification of your lamp - but more than two long paragraphs to defending your proposed extreme 'restoration', apparently amused that your various posts on this discussion list have provoked a horrified reaction of "heresy".

I see that your other posts invariably express your wish to make ancient coins "shiny":

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=126474.msg760557#msg760557

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=126477.msg760617#msg760617

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=126480.msg760576#msg760576

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=126479.msg760562#msg760562


Or your wish to make an ancient ring and a handle "shine up like bronze can":

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=126473.msg760554#msg760554

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=126472.msg760553#msg760553

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I'm one of the mods on a large Facebook group for collectors of ancient artefacts. We recently noticed a new member had made at least one post remarkably similar to yours but on another type of artefact. There seemed to be a pattern ...

1) He prefaced the post with a long preamble about being an innocent novice collector seeking advice on what the artefact was and on how to make it look new and shiny.
2) As he happily responded to horrified replies about the 'new and shiny' part, it gradually became very evident to us that identifying the artefact was unimportant and not the real reason for his post.
3) Despite purportedly being a novice seeking advice, he ignored the obvious solution of just buying or making a replica and insisted on damaging the actual artefact itself.
4) He gave long reasoned arguments and calmly insisted that the artefact was his to do with as he liked even though he knew it would destroy both its monetary and historical value.
5) Most tellingly, his photos showed that in fact his artefact had not even been touched, let alone undergone any trial attempts to spruce it up, and it was rather hard to believe he was really just waiting for instructions.

It all seemed very peculiar for a novice who had never posted before and who was ostensibly seeking advice. After all, it's pretty obvious to anyone that destroying thousand-year-old objects just to satisfy some bizarre selfish whim is not the way to go.

We came to the conclusion that the new member had deliberately chosen an online group in which people love ancient artefacts and had posted his intention to destroy them simply to wind the other members up and provoke an outraged reaction - an activity known as 'trolling'.

David Knell

Jj W

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Re: Clay Roman oil lamp. Looking for any additional info
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2021, 12:59:38 pm »
Quote from: Strobilus2 on October 12, 2021, 12:45:18 pm
Jimi (v-drome) is absolutely spot on. He has very accurately identified your lamp and it is undoubtedly authentic.

However, I find it interesting that your response devoted only a very brief thank-you for the identification of your lamp - but more than two long paragraphs to defending your proposed extreme 'restoration', apparently amused that your various posts on this discussion list have provoked a horrified reaction of "heresy".

I'm one of the mods on a large Facebook group for collectors of ancient artefacts. We recently noticed a new member had made at least one post remarkably similar to yours but on another type of artefact. There seemed to be a pattern ...

  • 1) He prefaced the post with a long preamble about being an innocent novice collector seeking advice on what the artefact was and on how to make it look new and shiny.
    2) As he happily responded to horrified replies about the 'new and shiny' part, it gradually became very evident to us that identifying the artefact was unimportant and not the real reason for his post.
    3) Despite purportedly being a novice seeking advice, he ignored the obvious solution of just buying or making a replica and insisted on damaging the actual artefact itself.
    4) He gave long reasoned arguments and calmly insisted that the artefact was his to do with as he liked even though he knew it would destroy both its monetary and historical value.
    5) Most tellingly, his photos showed that in fact his artefact had not even been touched, let alone undergone any trial attempts to spruce it up, and it was rather hard to believe he was really just waiting for instructions.
It all seemed very peculiar for a novice who had never posted before and who was ostensibly seeking advice. After all, it's pretty obvious to anyone that destroying thousand-year-old objects just to satisfy some bizarre selfish whim is not the way to go.

We came to the conclusion that the new member had deliberately chosen an online group in which people love ancient artefacts and had posted his intention to destroy them simply to wind the other members up and provoke an outraged reaction - an activity known as 'trolling'.

Wow.  Thank you so much for such a gracious welcome to your community.  Being new to something with different perspective and opinions on things is clearly something that isn't acceptable on this board.  You don't need to worry, I already decided that this wasn't the place for me.  My "trolling" won't bother you anymore.  I hope your misery doesn't fully consume you and that you find some joy in life somehow.

 

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