You are here:

Lamp with Griffin-Head Handle

Lamp with Griffin-Head Handle

300s-400s

Byzantium, Syria?, early Byzantine period, 4th-5th century

Bronze

Overall: 14.7 x 22.6 x 7 cm (5 13/16 x 8 7/8 x 2 3/4 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Chester D. Tripp in honor of William Mathewson Milliken on his 85th year 1974.77

Description

Bronze oil lamps with griffin-head handles and Christian symbolic decoration were common from the 4th through the 6th centuries and have survived in considerable numbers all over the Mediterranean world. The popularity of griffins, ancient mythological creatures with the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, is probably rooted in their traditional role as powerful guardian figures and protectors. On this Early Byzantine bronze lamp, the griffin seems to have functioned similarly as a guardian of the flame and a keeper of the light. The decoration of an everyday utilitarian object with both pagan and Christian symbols of protection may mark an effort to enhance its power.

See also

Contact us

Request a digital file from image services

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

Does something look wrong with this data or image? Please email DigitalTechnology@clevelandart.org.