Islamic glazed terracotta lamp with two nozzles, 1000 A.D.

This delicate oil lamp is made with the technique of glazed ceramics and consists of two nozzles to introduce a wick in each of them, making examples of great sophistication. The glazing of the ceramics is going to be the technique better known by the Islamic, who will make fashionable the use of colorful tiles with geometric and vegetable figures, since by their religion they had prohibited the figurative art. To obtain the glaze, the terracotta object is covered with lead oxide powder and placed in the oven at a temperature of 750 centigrade. In the Middle Ages they also used another system: they mixed a type of clay with a silica base with the waste from the wine; then they ground the mixture finely and added lead oxide. The resulting mass was used to cover the terracotta and give it a finish. The lamps were used since prehistoric times. They were fed with olive oil and had from one to a dozen wicks. Some had handles, so they could be carried from one room to another, and they could also be carried by actors in plays or by participants in ritual activities, especially funerals. The Phoenicians were going to popularize their use and thanks to trade they were going to be distributed all over the Mediterranean. More popular will be the Roman and Greek ones that will be made in a mould, and with several scenes, that due to their economic price and interest used to become collectibles.


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