The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art Terracotta Oil Lamps Christopher Lightfoot

Publication date:
25 May 2021
Metropolitan Museum of Art
320 pages: 279 x 216mm
700 color illus.
Sales territories:

This comprehensive catalogue of ancient terracotta oil lamps found in Cyprus situates the objects within larger cultural and social contexts and elucidates their varied decoration

This publication, the fourth in a series that meticulously catalogues works in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renowned Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art, focuses on the collection’s 453 terracotta oil lamps dating from the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Early Byzantine periods. The rich iconography on many of these common, everyday objects provides a rare look into daily life on Cyprus in antiquity and highlights the island’s participation in Roman artistic and cultural production. Each lamp is illustrated, and the accompanying text addresses typology, decoration, and makers’ marks on each of these objects. Although these small, utilitarian oil lamps are often overlooked in scholarly studies of the classical world, this close examination reveals their social, cultural, and artistic contexts, which provide new insights into art, craft, and trade in the ancient Mediterranean.

Christopher S. Lightfoot is an independent scholar and was formerly curator in the Department of Greek and Roman Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.