Lamp Moulds II


Moulds grew progressively smaller from generation to generation, due to shrinkage suffered by clay during the firing process.  The relative sizes in a family of lamps do not necessarily reflect their age so much as how often copying has occurred, or from which generation of lamps that mould was made.  If the original patrix was damaged, one of its daughter lamps was used to form a new mould for the next generation.  As this process was repeated, the offspring would inherently become smaller and smaller.  They would incur slight deviations, subsequent corrections of damaged or missing features, and acquire additional elements between generations.  This cycle leaves an insightful trail of the technical processes involved in ancient factories of mass-production. 


Many tops and bottoms of structural moulds were interchanged to form hybrids. This sometimes resulted in a poor fit, with overlapping and visible seams. Decorative motifs were also used interchangeably. If not set within the lamp mould’s structure, relief and appliqué stamps were made to decorate the vessel. 

Mould Made Lamp

L: 10.5cm   W: 6.3cm   H: 2.7cm


1st century BC to 1st century AD

(H3.2-16)  MMMN