Near East / Holy Land, Byzantine Empire, ca. 7th to 10th century CE. A pretty and unique example of a cast bronze oil lamp, decorated with broad, spade-shaped handle, its face incised with motifs and with a small, circular depression at its center that probably once had an inlay, perhaps of shell or precious metal. The body of the lamp is rounded aside from two shallow points, each also with a circular depression that may have held an inlay, between the opening at its center and the spout, with a very low disc-shaped foot and an elongated spout with a wide, shallow mouth. The neck of the spout is incised with an "X", perhaps a religious symbol. The spade symbol is familiar to us today from playing cards, with suits that developed in later medieval Europe but were based on more ancient ideas. We believe that the spade represents weaponry, and thus either the military or nobility. Perhaps this lamp belonged to someone who had connections to one or both. Size: 3.4" W x 2.25" H (8.6 cm x 5.7 cm); 4.15" H (10.5 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Zaveloff collection, Lakewood, New Jersey, USA, acquired from Venus Gallery, Israel, in 2002
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Small hole in back (which is currently being used to hold the stand). Otherwise in beautiful condition with well preserved details.