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HOME : Biblical Antiquities : Talmudic Oil Lamps : Talmudic Oil Lamp
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Talmudic Oil Lamp - L.0110
Origin: Israel
Circa: 400 AD to 600 AD

Catalogue: V1
Collection: Biblical
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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A token of a faith already old when this lamp was created, such an object might have lit Jewish homes or temples over a thousand years ago. A metaphor for joy and prosperity, for hope, for life itself, lamps have illuminated the path of civilization for centuries. They have guided great thoughts through the night, stood vigil with lonely passions. This lamp is decorated with a series of grape vines encircling the central opening and a palmette leaf on the handle. Both these images are fraught with symbolism. The palm tree is a symbol of the ancient land of Judea, used in the Judea Capta of coins. They represent height and abundance, for the sight of these trees when traversing the desert would imply that an oasis is nearby. Similarly, vines and grapes (gefen) symbolize the abundance of the land of Israel. Grapes have been cultivated since the dawn of mankind; the first vineyard mentioned in the Bible was planted by Noah after the flood subsided. Throughout generations, they have provided their fruit and wine, frequently used in many rituals and ceremonies. In the presence of this simple object, we are in touch directly with a vanished world, with the people once warmed by its glow. Today it remains as an enduring symbol of man's desire to conquer the darkness while its decoration speak of the bounty of God’s gift to the Jewish people: the land of Israel. - (L.0110)


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