Lamp - 910.165.843_4



Geography: Found in al-Fayyūm, Egypt
Date: Late 6th-7th century CE
Period: Byzantine period
5.4 x 12.3 x 6.1 cm
Object number: 910.165.843
Not on view
Most of the lamps in Copto-Byzantine Egypt were made of terra-cotta. The various oils used to feed lamps in Egypt, such as castor oil, palm oil, and olive oil, are mentioned by the classical authors and in the Greek papyri.
Lamps have an obvious function, but they also may carry additional meaning in certain circumstances and contexts. Lamps were found in houses but also associated with religious practices both in pre-Christian and Christian cultures. Even in ‘domestic’ contexts, lamps may have had some religious meaning or ritual function. The actions undertaken with lamps and the meanings applied to them were varied and context specific. Lamps were employed in various rituals in the house, sanctuary and cemetery. They featured in religious and ‘magical’ rituals. The meaning, significance and use of lamps for less tangible functions are hinted at in ancient texts, supplemented by details from archaeological contexts and iconography represented on these objects.
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