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A mould-made lamp with elongated body, a long round nozzle at one end and handle at the other. The body in the form of the mask of Silenus, with furrowed forehead, bulging eyebrows, wide open eyes, pointed nose, open mouth and thick beard. Acquisition notes to base.


Circa: 1st-2nd century AD.


Condition: Very fine, complete and intact

Length: 11 cm; 4.3 ins


Provenance: Cambridge UK private collection. Purchased from Gorny & Mosch Sale 202 December 2011 Lot 383 (purchased for Euros 485). From a private collection in the Rhineland, since the 1970s. Lamp acquired at Galerie Puhze, Freiburg.


'Plastic lamps with figurines first appear in the Hellenistic period, possibly originating in Athens. Found in all parts of the Mediterranean basin, they were particularly popular during the first and second centuries A.D. Egyptian and Italian workshops seem especially strong. In the fourth century, partly due to growing Christian influence, many types of these artifacts disappeared. By the end of the fourth century strict enforcement of imperial edicts against idol worship put an end to their production. The iconographic typology of these items is broad, including anthropomorphic and zoomorphic repertories as well as general items.'

Page 431: Ancient Lamps in the J. Paul Getty Museum

Roman Silenus Mask Oil Lamp

SKU: K115

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