III. Roman-Period Clay Lamps / Types from both Western and Eastern Provinces of the Roman Empire / Augustan and Imperial Lamps / Loeschcke type VIII / Lamps with heart-shaped nozzle / Italic and African lamps

Bussière form D X 4, variants a and b


This form groups lamps characterized by their shoulder decor—a laurel wreath. This decor may be treated realistically (Bussière 2000, groupe a style 1 figuratif) or be stylized (Bussière 2000, groupe b style 2 schématisé). Both groups appear on lamps found in Italy (e.g., Bailey BM II, Q 1392–Q 1393 and Q 1409–Q 1413). The hypothesis that they might only be African imports is contradicted by the signature of L.CAESAE, a prolific Italic lampmaker (Late Antonine and Early Severan); his products are scarce in North Africa.

Except for cat. 378, the remaining thirteen Getty examples all have shoulder form Loeschcke VII a and nozzle form Bus. 10b. The nozzle underside of some lamps is decorated with a typical motif consisting of a striated band, a notched band, or a band of tongues between two twisted cords or two curved lines (see cats. 381, 383, 385–88). Discus decors: mythology (6 ex.); amphitheater (1 ex.); animal (1 ex.); daily scene (a warship and a man in front of an altar, 2 ex.); a central pierced boss (3 ex.).

Ten lamps have a regular base-ring marked off by two circular grooves; one is marked off by one groove only; two have a narrow base-ring; one several rings. Cats. 377 and 387 have ovo-patterns within a circular band.

Cats. 378 and 384 are signed AVGENDI, cat. 379 is signed PVLLAENI: both African workshops active A.D. 175–225. Cat. 380 is signed on both sides of its basin EXOFICINA/RO[-]YTI; this African atelier, otherwise unknown to us, was presumably operating in the first half of the third century. Cat. 381 is signed EXOFI/CINA/KAPITO/NIS, active in the first half of the third century. A comparative study of workshop signatures among 150 Algerian lamps, and of the periods of shop activity, points to a chronological difference between the two above-mentioned groups: group a (figuratif) is slightly earlier than group b (schématisé) (see Bussière 2000, pp. 109–10). Reliable data from stratigraphic excavations are so far lacking. Nevertheless, from the scarce solid information we possess, lamps of form D X 4 can be dated between the first quarter of the second century and the end of Severan times.

Additional objects of this type: cat. 428.

Banner image: Detail of cat. 381