• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1915

    Antiquities

    6 December 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 199

    A BYZANTINE SILVER LAMP AND STAND

    CIRCA 5TH-7TH CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A BYZANTINE SILVER LAMP AND STAND
    CIRCA 5TH-7TH CENTURY A.D.
    The lamp with an elongated boat-shaped body, centered on the top with a head of Bacchus in high relief, a fillet in his hair, with grapes over each ear, the fillet ties falling on either side and terminating in volutes at the base of the elongated nozzle, an incised foliate pattern along the upper surface, the handle emerging from a collar of long pointed leaves and terminating in a broad stylized blossom, the center open, serving as the fill-hole, a Greek inscription incised along the blossom, reading, "Of Indakos, son of Orba...He made an offering, when we invoke (the god), he joined together;" the stand with a tripod base, each foot projecting from the upturned edges of the mantle, a tapering hook below, incised lines on each pad foot, the long shaft swelling in the center, with raised moldings at either end, surmounted by a trumpet-shaped pan centered by the tapering pricket, square in section, the lamp with a conforming mortise, a control stamp on the underside of the mantle with a seated figure of Constantinopolis
    Lamp: 9¾ in. (24.7 cm.) long
    Stand: 17¾ in. (45 cm.) high


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    Byzantine lamps and stands are rare in silver. For a related lamp stand see no. 151 in Kent and Painter, eds., Wealth of the Roman World, AD 300-700, dated to the second half of the reign of the Emperor Justinian I, which the authors describe as, "An outstanding and rare object, this provides a rare insight into the lavishness of Byzantine metalwork during what is generally regarded as one of the Byzantine Empire's most successful reigns." That the present example preserves its lamp is possibly unique in silver.

    Provenance

    German Art Market, 1994.