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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Masterpieces : Bronze Oil Lamp in the Form of an African's Head
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Bronze Oil Lamp in the Form of an African's Head - FZ.363
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD
Dimensions: 2" (5.1cm) high x 1.625" (4.1cm) wide
Collection: Classical
Style: Roman
Medium: Bronze

Location: UAE
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Although black Africans were exotic to the ancient Romans, they clearly would not have been unknown. The tight ringlets of his curly hair and broad nose reveal a first-hand encounter with such a type. This man is not a fantastical representation created from the descriptions of some adventurous traveler, but a portrait of an individual whose facial characteristic would have distinguished him from the ordinary Roman citizen. Perhaps he was a trader, maybe an enslaved warrior brought back to Rome after being defeated. The Carthaginians were known to recruit black Africans in their battles against the Romans. Today, as the boundaries of cultures are blurred, the exoticism of this piece has faded. Yet this bronze oil lamp is even more remarkable for what it symbolizes: an ancient desire to discover and learn from other ways of living and other types of people. - (FZ.363)


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