Exhibiting Historical Art: Out of the Vault: Stories of People and Things

Bronze Lamp Wall Label

This object is most likely a copy of a 2nd century B.C. Roman provincial lamp found in Pong Tuk, Thailand in the early 20th century. It is possible to imagine the original being forged somewhere in the Roman provinces and making its way to Yemen, where it was then traded to merchants on their way to India, then 500 years later traded to a wealthy family in Siam, where it was found in the early twentieth century.  A copy of this lamp was purchased by collectors on a trip to Southeast Asia, believing it was a legitimate antique. The collectors donated the object to the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery in 1985.  

Several features of this object indicate that it is not an original antiquity: the lack of detail on the lid; the omission of a hole on the bottom of the lamp for the insertion of a stand; and the strong similarity of the lamp to the one found in Pong Tuk.  

Daniel Weitz
A&S 2016
History of Art and Political Science majors

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