Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Lamp in the Shape of a Peacock

Bronze oil lamps were more expensive, and often more elaborate, versions of the terracotta oil lamps that were used throughout the ancient world to light interior rooms in houses and public buildings. They became very popular in Byzantine cities. Since the Graeco-Roman religions, ancient Egyptian religion, Christianity, and Judaism coexisted in this period, lamps as well as other domestic objects often utilized decorations that were meaningful to these various groups. The peacock, for instance, was a symbol associated with the Graeco-Roman goddess Juno (Hera); it also became known as a symbol for the resurrection of Christ.

Lamp in the Shape of a Peacock
4th–7th century AD
H. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm), W. 2 1/16 in. (5.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Burton Y. Berry Collection, 64.48.1