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Byzantine Bronze Oil Lamp - Seashell Lid, Cross Handle

$1,995.00
Near East/Holy Land, Byzantine Empire, ca. 7th to 10th century CE. A pretty example of a cast bronze pilgrim's oil lamp, decorated with a cross-form-shaped handle and a hinged lid in the form of a scallop shell. The body of the lamp is rounded, with a flat base and an elongated spout with a wide, shallow mouth. The base has a square hole in it for attachment to a stand. The symbol of the scallop shell in Christianity relates to St. James who was a fisherman in Galilee before he became a disciple of Jesus; he represents the act of pilgrimage. The shape of the shell, with grooved paths leading from the wide edge to a point, can symbolize the many different paths to Christ. The shell was also meant to represent the heavenly afterlife, and, for example, the interior of Constantine's church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem has a scallop shell carved into the niche. Size: 6.4" L x 2.7" W x 4.05" H (16.3 cm x 6.9 cm x 10.3 cm)

Condition: With functional hinge. Lightly encrusted grey-green patina. What may be a very ancient repair on the underside of the spout.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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