Pottery 'shell' form oil lamp from Egyptian tomb

Made:
100-1 BCE in Egypt

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Pottery 'shell' form oil lamp, from Egyptian tomb, Romano-Egyptian, c.1st century BC. This lamp is basically a saucer with a pronounced lip which has been contorted to form a long slender wick channel spout to support the wick, thus resembling the natural form offered by a shell, from whence this lamp form derives.

Vegetable or mineral oil soaks into the small textile wick of this lamp, vaporises and ignites, feeding the small flame. Lamps light this were convenient, portable light sources - a crucial technological advance.

Details

Category:
Lighting
Object Number:
1953-476/2
type:
oil lamp
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • furnishing - artefact
  • lighting device
  • lamp - lighting device
credit:
Mrs H.M. Burke