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Author Topic: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp  (Read 362 times)

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Offline ChefStu22

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Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« on: January 29, 2022, 06:01:13 am »
Morning guys, I hope this finds you well. See attached pictures of an oil lamp I purchased I wondered if anybody had any thoughts to it, and any help to identify the makers mark? Thanks as always Stuart

Offline v-drome

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2022, 03:54:36 pm »
Hi, Stuart.  This lamp belongs to a class of lamps known as "Egyptian Frog Lamps".  Here is a link to some examples in the British Museum Collection: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/x308753 (click on the "related objects" tab near the top).  If you click on the photos you get detailed information on each.  Yours looks a lot like the "palm and corn" variant from the mid 2nd-4th Century CE.  I don't have enough experience to determine the authenticity of your lamp, but the overall appearance of the clay is of some concern to me.  Any additional information you might have on the provenance of the item could be of use.  Hopefully one of our other members with more knowledge than me may weight in at some point. 

Regards, V-drome

Offline ChefStu22

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2022, 04:10:31 pm »
Evening V-Drome thank you very much for you help and the link. I think you are spot on with your appraisal of it, it certainly looks like the ones you have suggested. Given how they look I can understand the concerns on its authenticity I have contacted the person I purchased it off of to see if he can shed any light on its provenance. I have purchased many many roman coins from him all being 100% authentic so I thought this would be a safe purchase also, bur we shall see. I will update this thread once I get a reply from him. Thank you again and have a pleasant weekend. Stuart

Offline v-drome

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2022, 04:11:31 pm »
If you google "Egyptian frog lamp" you will see others.  Here is one with a similar stamp on the bottom from a museum in Budapest:
https://www.mfab.hu/artworks/one-wick-frog-lamp-from-egypt/

Offline ChefStu22

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2022, 04:28:50 pm »
I have to commend you, as concerned as I am with regards to the authenticity now purely just based on the colour of the clay/glaze on mine compared to the examples you have shown me, its a sure match for being one of them be it legitimately (the eternal optimist in me) or based upon them. The makers mark look almost identical to the screenshot I have attached. Really exceptional detective work from you 👏

Offline Strobilus2

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2022, 10:35:23 pm »
V-drome has accurately identified your lamp: Egyptian 'frog lamp', 2nd to 3rd or 4th centuries AD. (The slightly later dates given for the example in the Budapest museum are based on early speculation and do not agree with modern research.)

I will just add that the mark on the base - the Greek letter alpha (upside-down in your first image of it) - is extremely common on this type of lamp. Its ubiquity suggests that it is generic rather than being restricted to a specific maker or workshop but its significance is currently unknown - perhaps it held a religious or cultic meaning.

I suspect your lamp is probably authentic. The colour of the clay for these lamps varied from pale buff to dark red-brown or grey. The glossy surface may well be the result of a relatively modern varnish or wax - a common treatment for artefacts in Victorian times, applied in the misinformed belief that it made them more attractive and helped to preserve them.

There are one or two examples of the general type included on my website:
http://www.romulus2.com/lamps/lampcat/lampcat3.shtml#egypt


David Knell

Offline ChefStu22

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2022, 02:29:15 pm »
Evening Dave, thank you very much for your reply and all of the information contained within it. I have just had a quick look at your website and it's fantastic when I get a bit more time over the coming days I shall look through it in more detail. I fear that alongside the Roman coin bug I may now have been bitten by the lamp bug to some of them are stunning. Do you have any advice as to where is best to buy etc? Thanks again and have a great week. Stuart

Offline v-drome

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2022, 10:41:28 pm »
Thanks from me as well, Dave.  I't's nice to know that when I go out on a limb you are there with a net if it breaks!

V-drome

Offline ChefStu22

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Re: Pigs Snout? Roman oil lamp
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2022, 06:11:59 am »
Just a quick thank you again to you V-drome for such a speedy and informative reply :) have a good week guys Stuart

 

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