Rome, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. A fine cast bronze oil lamp depicting the head of a Nubian male presenting "African" features (the meticulously delineated, tightly curled hair being a distinct identifier), wide open eyes, thick brows, long nose, open mouth, and braided neck ornament. An elaborate nozzle emerges from his open mouth; an openwork handle adorned with foliage-inspired motif projects from the back of his curly coiffure, and a suspension loop is situated opposite the fill hole. Gorgeous green patina! Size: 4.875" L x 3.5" H (12.4 cm x 8.9 cm)
The Romans were well aware of black Africans, having contact with them through Nubia, south of Egypt, but artistic depictions of them are quite rare.
For similar examples sold at Christie's see Christie's Sale 2450 (2 June 2011) Lot 157 (price realized: $10,000) and Christie's 2605 (5 December 2012) Lot 166 (price realized $13,750).
Provenance: Ex-Private East Coast, USA Collection
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