III. Roman-Period Clay Lamps / Types from North African Provinces only / Augustan and Imperial Lamps

Near Deneauve type X B


This type differs from the preceding one, first, by the odd volutes in the shape of widely spread bird wings and, second, by the shoulder decors. Moreover, handles may be of the band type with twisted cord ornament. The type knew a limited production: in Deneauve’s Lampes de Carthage there are five examples of his type X B compared to twenty-one of his type X A; it has not been found in Chemtou and Bu Njem/Gholaia (Tunisia and Libya, respectively); five examples are recorded in Algeria; only one in Sabratha (Libya).

One lamp from Carthage published in Alaoui I (no. 350, pl. 36) is signed EX OFFI Q SEM; it is not recorded in Deneauve’s 1969 catalogue. The same signature appears on an Algerian lamp of Deneauve type X B published by Cardaillac (Cardaillac 1890, no. 270, fig. 14), only briefly mentioned in Bussière 2000, for the lamp has disappeared. The date of the well-known African workshop Q SEM, A.D. 175–225, matches the chronology assigned to Deneauve type X A: A.D. 175–250. But two lamps of Deneauve type X B (Deneauve 1969, nos. 1061 and 1063, pl. 96) are signed M.NOV.IVSTI, another African workshop, whose activity is slightly earlier than that of Q SEM: A.D. 150/160–180. Consequently type X B, absent from both Chemtou and Bu Njem, should be earlier than type X A (Bonifay 2004a, p. 335).

Within the two types whose major common feature is the revival of the triangular volute-nozzle of Loeschcke type I, one can trace a clear evolution. This starts from the original standard form of volutes and ends with a much more elaborate form, rightly perceived by Deneauve and others as “baroque.” A lamp from a private collection signed PVLLAENI (Bussière 1998) logically finds its place at the very beginning of this revival process, having the canonical form of a triangular nozzle, which will progressively be modified according to the African taste. Let us bear in mind that PVLLAENVS started his activity in the same period as NOV.IVSTVS, that is, in the Late Antonine period. For a time both ateliers produced the same lamps of Loeschcke type VIII with a plain shoulder and a short rounded nozzle. These lamps were either absolutely identical to the Italic ones (e.g., Bussière 2000, nos. 1241, 1876, 1893, and 1934 signed MNOVIVSTI; 1300–1303 signed PVLLAENI); or very similar (e.g., lamp no. 86, pl. 14, in Ennabli, Salomonson, and Mahjoubi 1973, signed PVLLAENI, itself identical to their lamp no. 53, pl. 14, signed EXOFIQSEM).

Actually, neither of the two Getty lamps cats. 472–73 has the same feathered volutes in slight relief as found on Deneauve type X B. In contrast to what is seen on lamps of this type, cat. 472 has an ornament handle, as Deneauve no. 1068 once had. The discus decor of cat. 472 is seen on third-century African lamps (Bussière 2000, nos. 3466, 3468).

Cat. 473 shows a lion in relief, a decor not uncommon on African lamps. Apart from Deneauve no. 1066 (Deneauve 1969, pl. 97) and its Algerian replica (Bussière 2000, no. 3681, pl. 105), we can also refer to a lioness (Joly 1974, no. 838, pl. 31) and to three examples of lions in private collections similar to Deneauve no. 1066. Is cat. 473 a very debased version of this popular theme? Deneauve’s no. 1066 is in brownish red clay with light red slip—colors not too far from those of cat. 473. However, we must admit that we relate cats. 472–73 to “near” Deneauve type X B without total conviction: they may not be African at all.

Banner image: Detail of cat. 472