Oil Lamps


Levantine Oil Lamp collection, circa 3300 BCE to 700 CE, Ceramic, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta.

This collection of Levantine oil lamps from the Michael C. Carlos Museum is displayed in chronological order highlighting the evolution and influences of the lamps found in the levant. Starting at the top left are the earliest and most rudimentary forms from the early bronze period.  These round saucers use a free-floating flax wick in olive oil. Pinched styles soon appeared to keep the wick stable to focus  light and to stop the oil from sloshing. During the Hellenistic period saucer lamps became more enclosed with the rims being folded to the point of overlapping. The Roman periods brought more mold-made and wheel-thrown styles. In the bottom left of the collection is a Roman two-part plaster mold.