Learning about Lamps

Art & Archaeology are not the strong points of my classical background (I am a lit/history kinda gal) but they are pretty central components to Museum displays.
So right now I am engaging on a crash course on categorising and dating terracotta lamps. The lamp in question has a rather hazy (by which I do not mean to imply shady or nefarious) provenance but fortunately a slightly more informed researcher than me began the process.

I am fascinated by the arcane arts of judging the shapes and different methods of production. I am intrigued by discussion of fabric and spout detailing. I do not quite understand why such suggestions are made and I don’t know if I could do the same thing. I am interested by the interpretation of the imagery and I find that easier to unpick but of course it raises more questions…

What I have not yet decided is how the objects themselves can offer a narrative acontextually of their original setting – not because I don’t think they have stories to tell about production, trade & lifestyle as groups but because fitting that to complement but not repeat other displays is a tricky process.


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