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Lamp - Lamp in the form of a Dove

Lamp in the form of a Dove

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Byzantine Empire (made)
    Egypt (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 500 - 600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze, cast

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Lamp in the form of a Dove, the body modelled with feathers, the head with beak and eyes. The back with an aperture covered by a leaf-shaped lid, now with a suspension loop, the tail ending in a spout. The dove stands on a circular disc which is pierced with a square aperture.

Place of Origin

Byzantine Empire (made)
Egypt (possibly, made)


ca. 500 - 600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Bronze, cast

Marks and inscriptions



Height: 13 cm, Width: 5.5 cm, Length: 16 cm

Object history note

For lamps such as this, the oil was poured through the aperture in the back, and the spout held a wick. The disc base is pierced with an aperture so that the lamp could be mounted on the spigot of a stand. Such lamps, perhaps deriving from Oriental prototypes, may themselves have inspired the enamellers of medieval Limoges, one of whose most distinctive products were enamelled pyxes in the shape of doves (known as eucharistic doves) which were suspended by chains above the altar.

Purchased from Robin Symes, London, in 1970; said to have been found in Asia Minor.

Descriptive line

Hanging lamp in the form of a dove, possibly Egypt, early Byzantine, ca. 500 - 600

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Williamson, Paul (ed.), The Medieval Treasury, London: V&A Publications, 1998, pp. 50-51.
Beckwith, John. “An Early Christian Bronze Lamp.” Archivo Español de Arqueologia 45-47 (1972-74): 463-65 (reprinted in John Beckwith, Studies in Byzantine and Medieval Western Art, 311-13. London, 1989).

Production Note

Byzantine Empire





Subjects depicted



Metalwork; Lighting


Metalwork Collection

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