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Lamp with Head of Medusa

Culture Roman
Title Lamp with Head of Medusa
Date 50–100 CE
Medium Terracotta
Dimensions Object: 1 1/2 × 5 3/16 in. (3.8 × 13.2 cm)
Overall: 1 1/2 × 5 3/16 in. (3.8 × 13.2 cm)
Credit Line Burton Y. Berry Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 70.60.4

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About this Work

Oil lamps brought light into the interiors of homes and public buildings. The inner cavity held the oil and one end of the wick; the other end of the wick was threaded up through the spout, which supported the flame, as the black discoloration on the spout of this example attests. The snake-haired head of Medusa was regarded as an image that could ward off evil. Therefore, Medusa heads frequently appeared on domestic objects.


Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Lamp with Head of Medusa | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024. https://artmuseum.indiana.edu/collections-online/browse/object.php?number=70.60.4