© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1975.41.141.A-C
Title
Lampstand
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Candle Holder (B) and Base (A)
Classification
Lighting Devices
Work Type
lighting device
Date
6th-7th century CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Eastern Mediterranean
Period
Byzantine period, Early
Culture
Byzantine
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/288564
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Leaded brass; Mixed copper alloy
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
25 x 11.3 x 8.1 cm (9 13/16 x 4 7/16 x 3 3/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: Top
XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Brass
Alloying Elements: copper, lead, zinc
Other Elements: tin, iron, arsenic

Middle
XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Brass
Alloying Elements: copper, lead, zinc
Other Elements: tin, iron, nickel

Bottom
XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Brass
Alloying Elements: copper, lead, zinc
Other Elements: tin, iron, arsenic

K. Eremin, January 2014

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Brass and Mixed Copper Alloy:
Point 1: Cu, 72.41; Sn, 1.6; Pb, 8.26; Zn, 16.91; Fe, 0.17; Ni, 0.05; Ag, 0.09; Sb, 0.07; As, 0.44; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.008; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001


Point 2: Cu, 72.92; Sn, 2.05; Pb, 6.08; Zn, 18.18; Fe, 0.15; Ni, 0.06; Ag, 0.12; Sb, 0.08; As, 0.36; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.006; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina is very dark, almost black, with a faint green cast. The stand is a pastiche in its present condition. It appears to have been cast in at least two sections. A third section (1.6 cm high) currently attached to the upper segment is also ancient, but its patina is different from the other two, and it was probably added in an early restoration. The surfaces were sawn and ground flat where they meet, and a modern threaded rod holds the parts together, including the lower base section. Lead solder is present in the hollow of the lower base section. This solder could be old or part of the restoration.

Drips and wax manipulation marks at the bottom of the base are related to melting and applying the wax to a mold to form the outer surfaces. The shallow incised lines in both the upper and lower sections are irregular but appear to have been turned at a slow speed, either in the wax model or in the brass cast. Circular burnish marks at the bottom side of the “dish” are concentric and are the result of finishing either the wax or brass surface by rotating it along its axis.


Henry Lie (submitted 2001)

Provenance
Hagop Kevorkian collection (by 1941), gift; to the Fogg Museum, 1975.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of The Hagop Kevorkian Foundation in memory of Hagop Kevorkian
Accession Year
1975
Object Number
1975.41.141.A-C
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The brass lamp stand, made up of three pieces, has a saucer and pricket supported by a baluster-turned shaft and tripod base. The feet of the stand—in the shape of lions’ paws—are capped at the knee by the flared base of the shaft terminating in three downturned knobs. The rising shaft flares at its center. Three pairs of concentric circles are inscribed the shaft at its base, middle, and top. The middle piece (approximately 1.6 cm high) connects the tripod base to the saucer. It flares at the bottom and rises to a small disc. Unlike the upper and lower pieces, which have inscribed bands, the middle piece is decorated with a raised band. The third piece, the saucer and pricket, is joined to the middle piece by a screw. This section is inscribed with three pairs of concentric circles (at the base, under the lip of the saucer, and on the pricket) and a single, deeper circle on the upper edge of the lip of the saucer.

The tripod base and flared shaft are similar to other eastern Mediterranean examples from the fifth to seventh centuries CE (1). M. Ross attributes a similar stand in the Dumbarton Oaks collection to Syria, based on a group of stands sharing similar bases and swelled shafts (2). Chronological attribution of the group stems from inscriptions on stands from the Hama excavations (3).

This stand is made to support a lamp on its pricket. Stands varied in height from 30 cm to over a meter. The shortest were intended for tables or wall niches, and the tallest were placed on the floor. The difference in decoration, patina, and metal alloy of the middle piece compared to the other two parts of this stand suggests that the middle piece is a repair, thus precluding any estimation of the original height of the stand.

NOTES:

1. For similar examples of footed tripod bases with ring-inscribed stands, see M. C. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Mediaeval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection 1: Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Glyptics, Painting (Washington, DC, 1962) nos. 34 and 39, pls. 27-28; E. D. Maguire, H. P. Maguire, and M. J. Duncan-Flowers, Art and Holy Powers in the Early Christian House, exh. cat., Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, 1989) 71, no. 17; J. C. Waldbaum, Metalwork from Sardis: The Finds through 1974, Archaeological Exploration of Sardis Monograph 8 (Cambridge, MA, 1983) 104, no. 615, pl. 40; A. Gonosová and C. Kondoleon, Art of Late Rome and Byzantium in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, 1994) 258-59, no. 88; and M. Xanthopoulou, Les lampes en bronze à l’époque paléochrétienne, Bibliothèque de l’Antiquité tardive 16 (Turnhout, 2010) 242-52, nos. CD 6.001-6.022 and 6.024-6.043.

2. M. C. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Mediaeval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection 2: Jewelry, Enamels, and Art of the Migration Period (Washington, DC, 1965) 38.

3. Gonosova and Kondoleon 1994 (supra 1) 259.


Anne Druckenbrod Gossen

Publication History

"Pagan and Christian Egypt: Egyptian Art from the First to the Tenth Century A.D." (1941), Brooklyn Museum, p. 34, no. 89, ill.

Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and Their World, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), p. 196, no. 110, fig. 110.

Maria Xanthopoulou, Les lampes en bronze à l’époque paléochrétienne, Brepols (Turnhout, 2010), p. 247, no. CD 6.023.

Exhibition History

Pagan and Christian Egypt: Egyptian Art from the First to the Tenth Century AD, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 01/23/1941 - 03/09/1941

Byzantine Women and Their World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/25/2002 - 04/28/2003

Beyond the Surface: Scientific Approaches to Islamic Metalwork, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/21/2011 - 06/01/2013

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu