Israelite terracotta oil lamp with a biblical scene, 400-500 A.D.

Material:  Terracotta
Conservation:  Good condition
Material:  Terracotta
Dimensions:  10,5 x 6 cm
Provenance:  Archaeological Gallery, Israel, 2014. Export authorization from the Israel Antiquities Authority No. 526524 with date 07/08/2014 / This piece is accompanied by an export certificate from the Spanish Ministry of Culture No. 2020/04396 with date 23/07/2020 and certificate of authenticity.
On request
Ref m6018 Category Tag

This round terracotta oil lamp is decorated with a scene taken from the Bible. The use of moulds from the first century B.C. for this type of oil lamps manufacture meant that the discs on both sides, which had been free of decoration until now, gradually became richer in iconography, adding figurative, vegetable and even animal motifs, even representing narrative scenes as in this case.
The scene depicted is an event recorded in the Bible that commemorates the exploration of the land of Canaan by order of Moses. At the moment when the Israelites leave for the north of Canaan, they will meditate on the best way to enter the Promised Land. Thus, God tells Moses to send some of his men to explore the land and bring him a physical test to answer whether it could be a habitable land or not. Being a dangerous land, Moses decides to carry out a selection of the wisest and bravest men from each of the twelve tribes to undertake the journey, among which were Joshua and Caleb, the latter belonging to the tribe of Judah.
Both of them, together with the help of others selected, decided to undertake the expedition from the different cities and fields, and as proof of the wealth of the land, they gathered a huge bunch of grapes for whose transport they would be helped by a stick carried by both of them, this finding being the explanation for the attribution of the name Valley of Eshcol, this last word translated as bunch. All of this served to attest to the fact that it was indeed a very rich land and conducive to settlement, with the exception of its inhabitants, whom they defined as enormous, strong and extremely warlike beings with whom they had to deal.

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