Greece, Athens / Attica, ca. 5th century BCE. Gorgeous pottery oil lamp in circular form save elongated spout, small circular opening in base to attach this to a small pole or rod. Covered in black lead glaze, save area around central well that was left reserved. A beautiful example created in ancient Athens! Size: 3-3/4" at widest x 5/8" (9.5 x 1.6 cm)
In "The Odyssey," Homer stated, "Pallas Athena marched ahead bearing a golden oil lamp which made a most beauteous light" (Homer The Odyssey XIX 35) Yes, Homer knew how to capture the romance of golden flickering light. However, practically speaking, in antiquity oil lamps set on stands or suspended from chains or cords, provided most interior lighting. In order to enjoy their drinking parties which were held at night after dinner, the ancients relied on the flickering flames of such oil lamps. And certainly oil lamps were also used in religious ceremonies. Consider this - the oil lamp is one of the oldest inventions of humankind - used by prehistoric man in the caves of Lasceaux, the Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks and Romans, those of the Byzantine age, and the list continues. Light has always been cherished and needed by humans for the illumination of the home and religious ritual. It continues to be part of our daily life and continues to enhance spiritual rituals today. This example is beautiful not only for its form and technique, but also for how it symbolizes that cherishing of light that has been consistent throughout time and unites us with the ancients!
Provenance: Ex-Harlan J. Berk, Chicago, IL
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