Roman oil lamp with chariot scene, impressed mark, Italy, 1st – 2nd century AD  


Roman ‘redware’ oil lamp, the discus moulded with a charioteer whipping his horses, a rounded spout to the tip and an absent handle opposite.

Rare impressed mark to base,


Italy, 1st – 2nd century AD

10cm wide,

Condition: handle absent, signs of burial


Provenance: Rockerfeller Collection, Melbourne Mould-made oil lamps of this type were made in Gaul and North Africa from a distinctive red clay known as ‘terra sigillata’, and moulded with a large number of popular themes. Imported into Italy, these were very popular. As a result, local potters copied them extensively – but in different clay. This example has a typical Italian buff-coloured clay body, but has been moulded with an ‘Imported’ style design, and then glazed with a deep red to look ‘North-African’. While this slip layer reveals its non-African origin, it also bears a potter’s mark: “NNAELVCI”, which is well documented as an Italian potter in the 1st-2nd centuries AD. ref. Getty Museum’s online catalogue of their oil lamps, #304 & #345, for the same workshop, described as “Italic workshop active Late Flavian to Hadrianic period.”





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