This ancient lamp might have burned in the Holy
Land at the height of the Israelite monarchy.
Judging by its low, flat base, this lamp probably
derives from the Northern Kingdom of Israel
during the pre-Exilic Period. Its simple, pinch
pot construction is a tribute to the antiquity of
the design, likely having Canaanite origins.
Made of terra cotta, this simple item would have
held olive oil and probably a wick of plant fibers
or textile, allowing it to provide light for a few
hours perhaps. This lamp of open-bowl design
would later give way to more elaborate, enclosed
lamps of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
A metaphor for joy and prosperity, for hope, for
life itself, lamps have illuminated the path of
civilization for centuries. They have shed light on
mundane and extraordinary events alike, guiding
great thoughts through the night, and standing
vigil with lonely passions. In the presence of this
simple object, we are in touch directly with a
vanished world, with the rooms and shrines once
warmed by its glow, with the people who drew
comfort from its light. Today it remains as an
enduring symbol of man's desire to conquer the