Ancient Roman Bronze Comedian Figure - (1)
Ca. 1st century AD
An oil lamp in the shape of the head of an African exemplifies the artistic and cultural exchange within the Roman Empire. Crafted from bronze, this unique lamp features a stylized depiction of an African head on a small foot. The intricate details include a raised brow, wide articulated eyes, and a broad nose, with the upturned nozzle emerging from the open mouth. A looped finial on the forehead suggests the possibility of suspension, while another spout at the back facilitates filling. Such oil lamps reveal the diverse range of cultural influences present in the Roman world. They reflect the encounter between the Roman Empire and the peoples of Africa, highlighting the interconnectedness of different civilizations. The lamp's symbolism extends beyond its practical function, possibly representing exoticism, cultural curiosity, or even the commemoration of significant individuals from Africa. Functionally, these lamps served as a source of illumination, casting light through the open mouth and providing a practical and aesthetically pleasing lighting solution. They would have been used in various domestic and religious contexts, contributing to the ambiance and symbolic significance of the spaces in which they were placed.
Size: L:55mm / W:62mm ; 60g
Provenance: Private London collection; formerly acquired in the US in the 1990s.
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