Ancient Near East, Holy Land, early Byzantine era, ca. 6th to 7th century CE. An exceptionally-rare oil lamp, mold-made from light-orange terracotta, with a slender ovoid composition. The vessel exhibits a stable base, pinched sides, a petite fill hole flanked by two stylized crucifixes, and a spade-shaped wick spout. The parabolic handle displays a bust of Jesus Christ, his almond eyes, slender nose, bushy beard comprising his graceful visage, with locks of cascading hair framing the peripheries of his face. Perhaps lit to pay homage to Jesus himself, this stunning vessel exemplifies how ancient Christians revered and kept true to their faith. Size: 3.875" L (9.8 cm).
Provenance: private Secaucus, New Jersey, USA collection; ex-Mrs. F. Artuner collection, Belgium, acquired in the 1960s
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Expected age-commensurate surface wear, fading to details, with wear and small nicks to wick spout, handle, body, and peripheries, otherwise intact and excellent. Nice earthen deposits throughout interior and exterior. Lucite display stand for photography purposes only.