Length: 21.300 cm
Height: 15.800 cm
Width: 7.200 cm
Brass hanging lamp with a griffin-head handle
Early Byzantine, 5th-6th century
Said to be from Herculaneum (Ercolano), Campania, Italy
The body of the lamp is boat-shaped with a
filling hole for the oil in the centre and a wick hole at the end.
The curved neck of a griffin emerges from a calyx to form the
handle. The griffin has a spiky knobbed crest and holds a sphere in
its beak. A small dove atop a
Many griffin-head lamps have been found throughout the Mediterranean. This lamp belongs to a small group which share a number of features such as leafy calyxes, domed lids and polygonal nozzles. It is likely that they were made in a single workshop, perhaps in Italy where this one was said to have been found.
symbols on the lamp may not have had any specific religious
significance. In ancient mythology the griffin was an attendant to
the Greek god
D. Bailey, A catalogue of the lamps in -2, vol. 4 (London, 1997)