A fine Roman oil-lamp in red-brown terracotta, the centre of the discus decorated with a leaping stag surrounded by a border of fruits/berries? Unusually highly raised base. Makers mark 'L'. Rare type.
This is another one from Don Lee's collection, and I presume one of his finds. It's a very unusual lamp both in terms of its size and design. I've not seen another quite like it. I think it's a ritual lamp, probably given as an offering to the Roman goddess Diana. Definitely one for a Roman oil lamp collector.
Condition: Loss to nozzle and one side as shown. Could easily be restored.
Dimensions: 8.5cm x 6.5cm.
Provenance: Ex. Don Lee Collection, UK; formed between 1950 - 2007.
Don Lee was a prolific collector of antiquities and coins. A former school teacher from London, Don made some remarkable finds himself, including a fabulously rare Wuneetton type gold thrymsa while 'mudlarking' on the banks of the river Thames at the age of 76! His collection spanned thousands of years from Stone Age axe heads to Roman glass and Viking brooches. His collection of coins and antiquities was auctioned in the summer of 2007.
In classical mythology, the deer or stag was associated with the ancient Greek goddess, Artemis (or her Roman counterpart, Diana), in her role as the virginal huntress. One popular myth tells the story of the hero Actaeon, who, after witnessing the goddess bathing, was turned into a stag. He was chased by his own hunting hounds and perished. Such a lamp could have been given as an offering to Artemis, or belonged to a young hunter, thereby evoking the goddess’s protection and guidance.
Roman oil lamps are one of the most diverse and popular antiquities for sale to collectors.
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