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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Wick Holder
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
1st Millennium
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Antioch (Syria)
Find Spot: Middle East, Turkey
Byzantine period
Physical Descriptions
Copper alloy
8 x 2.5 x 0.6 cm (3 1/8 x 1 x 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is black with metal showing through and small spots of green. The metal retains much of its spring and flexibility, but corrosion has resulted in many brittle losses at the edges and at one of the gripping ends. The object is well preserved but has been aggressively cleaned, evidenced by numerous scratches on the surface. The wick holder was made from a single sheet of copper alloy hammered to a fairly uniform thickness (c. 0.3 mm) and to a spring hardness. A rectangular sheet (c. 1 cm x 8 cm) was cut lengthwise to within 1 cm of the opposite end. The un-cut end was then folded over into a roll to form and to secure the opposing ends of the pincers. Flattening of the metal appears to have been done by rolling the sheet metal, with some subsequent hammering. This is evident in the irregular shapes of the edges along one side in contrast to the relatively straight edges on the other side.

Carol Snow and Henry Lie (submitted 2002, updated 2010)

Excavated from Antioch (no. c493-U774) (Turkey, Hatay) by the Syrian Department of Antiquities (later the Hatay government) and the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and Its Vicinity, (1935-1939), dispersed; to Fogg Art Museum, 1940.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
A single piece of metal forms flat arms of unequal thickness, which retain their springiness. The apex is rolled and hollow. This instrument may have been used as a wick holder for a glass polycandelon lamp (1).


1. See C. Kondoleon, Antioch: The Lost Ancient City, exh. cat., Worcester Art Museum; The Cleveland Museum of Art; and The Baltimore Museum of Art (Princeton, 2000) 83-84, fig. 5.

David Smart

Exhibition History

Antioch-on-the-Orontes: Excavating an Early Byzantine City, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, Washington, 04/07/2010 - 10/10/2010

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