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Holy Oil Lamp Spirtiual Gifts :
Modern Geometric Art Holy Oil Lamp
By Deborah Juodaitis
Meaning's of All Holy Oil Lamp's:
Before the invention of the wheel in the Middle Bronze Age, lamps were made by hand. An early form of the potter�s wheel was invented and introduced in the Middle Bronze Age and used to manufacture lamps until around the 3rd century BCE. The use of molds was first developed in Greece and Egypt during the 3rd century BCE. In Roman times, stone, clay, or plaster molds were utilized on a large scale across the Roman Empire until around the 8th century CE.
To make a lamp, two moulds are needed: one for the upper part and one for the lower part. Some pairs of moulds have knobs and corresponding holes to fit the two molds together. In order to create the mold, an archetype or patrix is first made. Plaster or clay is then formed around the patrix, which dries and hardens into a mould. Clay moulds are removed from the patrix before they are fully dried. They are then kiln fired, thus they may deviate or shrink from their original form. Clay moulds need more labour than plaster ones. However, clay moulds are more durable. Plaster moulds are dried completely and then removed from the patrix. Plaster thus makes an accurate replica, but it has the disadvantage of leaving some surface granular artifacts. Due to the perishable nature of plaster, it has proven difficult to find remains of ancient plaster moulds. Several clay moulds, however, have been recovered. By studying the surfaces of surviving lamps it seems that plaster was preferred to clay.
Lamp typology, Lamps can be categorized based on different criteria, including material (Clay, Silver, Bronze, Gold, Stone, slip), shape, structure, design, and imagery (e.g. symbolic, religious, mythological, erotic, battles, hunting).
Typologically, lamps of the Ancient Mediterranean can be divided into six major categories
Wheel made: This category includes Greek and Egyptian lamps that date before the 3rd century BCE. They are characterized by simple, little or no decoration, and a wide pour hole, a lack of handles, and a pierced or unpierced lug. Pierced lugs occurred briefly between 4th and 3rd century BCE. Unpierced lugs continued until 1st century BCE.
Volute, Early Imperial: With volutes extending from their nozzles, these lamps were predominately produced in Italy during the Early Roman period. They have a wide discus, a narrow shoulder and no handle, elaborate imagery and artistic finishing, and a wide range of patterns of decoration.
High Imperial: These are late Roman. The shoulder is wider and the discus is smaller with fewer decorations. These lamps have handles and short plain nozzles, and less artistic finishing.
Frog: This is a regional style lamp exclusively produced in Egypt and found in the regions around it, between ca. 100 300 CE. The frog, (Heqet), is an Egyptian fertility symbol.
African Red Slip lamps were made in North Africa, but widely exported, and decorated in a red slip. They date to the second century CE and comprise a wide variety of shapes including a flat, heavily decorated shoulder with a small and relatively shallow discus. Their decoration is either non-religious, Christian or Jewish. Grooves run from the nozzle back to the pouring hole and it is hypothesized that this is to take back spilled oil. These lamps often have more than one pour-hole.
Slipper lamps are oval shaped and found mainly in the Levant. They were produced between the 3rd to 9th century CE. Decorations include vine scrolls, palm wreaths, and Greek letters.
Factory lamps: Also called Firmalampen (from German), these are universal in distribution and simple in appearance. They have a channeled nozzle, plain discus, and 2 or 3 bumps on the shoulder. Initially made in factories in Northern Italy and Southern Gaul between 1st century and 3rd centuries CE, they were exported to all Roman provinces. The vast majority have been stamped to identify the manufacturer.
Roman NeopaganismIn the Religio Romana, which is the modern reconstruction of the religion of Ancient Rome, an oil lamp is placed on the lararium and lit before prayers are said. The lamp symbolizes Vesta, as well as the protective power she offers to a home
Judaism Lamps appear in the Torah and other Jewish sources as a symbol of lighting the way for the righteous, the wise, and for love and other positive values. While fire was often described as being destructive, light was given a positive spiritual meaning. The oil lamp and its light were important household items, and this may explain their symbolism. Oil lamps were used for many spiritual rituals. The oil lamp and its light also became important ritualistic articles with the further development of Jewish culture and its religion.
And you shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive-oil for the light, that a lamp may be set to burn continually. Exodus 27:20
When you set the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lamp stand (menorah). Numbers 8: 1 -4
There I shall cause pride to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. (Psalms 132:16);
For a commandment is a lamp and the Torah is light; and reproving discipline is the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23);
A mans soul is the lamp of God, which searches the chambers of ones innards. (Proverbs 20:27).
A lamp is called a lamp, and the soul of man is called a lamp. (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 30B)
ChanukahThe Temple Menorah, a ritual seven branched oil lamp used in the Second Temple, forms the centre of the Chanukah story and centers on the miracle that during the cleansing of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem after its looting, the lamp was supposed to burn continuously, forever, but there was only oil enough for one day, and no more oil would be available for 8 days; miraculously the oil expected to last for only one day instead burnt for 8 full days
Oil lamp burning before the icon of St. Mercurius of Smolensk, Kiev Pechersk Lavra, UkraineThere are several references to oil lamps in the New Testament:
Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34);
He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. (John 5:35);
And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.� (Rev 22:5).
In the Orthodox Church and many Eastern Catholic Churches oil lamps (Greek: kandili, Slavonic: lampada) are still used both on the Holy Table (altar) and to illuminate icons on the iconostasis and around the temple (church building). Orthodox Christians will also use oil lamps in their homes to illuminate their icon corner.
Traditionally, the sanctuary lamp in an Orthodox church is an oil lamp. It is lit by the bishop when the church is consecrated, and ideally it should burn perpetually thereafter. The oil burned in all of these lamps is traditionally olive oil.
In Greece and Cyprus, lamp� (Greek: λαμπάδα) is the special name for the candle held by the faithful on the Easter service celebrating the Resurrection. Although any regular paraffin or beeswax candle can be used, a lamp� is usually a large, white candle or, in the case of children, a multicolored candle decorated with ribbons, beads, toys, dried flowers etc. The lamp� is lit at midnight, with the holy light from the priest's candle, and then carried home. The sign of the cross is often made with soot from this flame on the lintel above the home's main door, and the flame is transferred to the icon corner oil lamp; only then can the lamp� be extinguished. The cross over the door and the flame before the icons are believed to confer the Risen Lord's protection on the household.
Islam"God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is, as it were, that of a niche containing a lamp; the lamp is [enclosed] in glass, the glass [shining] like a radiant star: [a lamp] lit from a blessed tree - an olive-tree that is neither of the east nor of the west the oil whereof [is so bright that it] would well-nigh give light [of itself] even though fire had not touched it: light upon light! God guides unto His light him that wills [to be guided]; and [to this end] God propounds parables unto men, since God [alone] has full knowledge of all things". 24:35
Paavai vilakku. Anthropomorphic oil lamp from Tamil Nadu. Brass.
Blessing at a Durga puja celebration
A Deepalakshmi oil lamp from KumbakonamOil lamps are commonly used in Hindu temples as well as in home shrines. Generally the lamps used in temples are circular with places for five wicks. They are made of metal and either suspended on a chain or screwed onto a pedestal. There will usually be at least one lamp in each shrine, and the main shrine may contain several. Usually only one wick is lit, with all five burning only on festive occasions. The oil lamp is used in the Hindu ritual of Aarti.
In the home shrine, the style of lamp is usually different, containing only one wick. There is usually a piece of metal that forms the back of the lamp, which has a picture of a Hindu deity embossed on it. In many houses, the lamp burns all day, but in other homes, it is lit at sundown. The lamp in the home shrine is supposed to be lit before any other lights are turned on at night.
A hand-held oil lamp or incense sticks (lit from the lamp) are also used during the Hindu puja ceremony. In the North of India, a five-wick lamp is used, usually fueled with ghee. On special occasions, various other lamps may be used for puja, the most elaborate having several tiers of wicks.
In South India, there are a few types of oil lamps that are common in temples and traditional rituals, some of the smaller ones are used for offerings as well:
Deepalakshmi, a brass lamp with a depiction of goddess Sri Lakshmi over the back piece. they are usually small-size and have only one wick.
Nilavilakku, a tall brass or bronze lamp on a stand where the wicks are placed at a certain height.
Paavai vilakku, a brass or bronze lamp in the form of a lady holding a vessel with her hands. This type of lamp comes in different sizes, from very small to almost life-size. There are also large stone versions of this lamp in Hindu temples and shrines of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, especially at the base of columns and flanking the entrance of temples. They have only one wick.
Thooku vilakku, a brass or bronze lamp hanging from a chain, often with multiple wicks.
Chinese folk religion
Traditional Chinese shrine in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, containing an oil lamp Oil lamps are lit at traditional Chinese shrines before either an image of a deity or a plaque with Classical Chinese characters giving the name of the deity. Such lamps are usually made from clear glass (they look similar to normal drinking glasses) and are filled with oil, sometimes with water underneath. A cork or plastic floater containing a wick is placed on top of the oil with the bottom of the wick submerged in the oil.
Such lamps are kept burning in shrines, whether private or public, and incense sticks or joss sticks are lit from the lamp.
Archaeological chronologyIt is very difficult to say when and where the first oil lamp was used. This is partly because it is difficult to draw a line detailing when the primitive forms of creating a continuous source of light from fire can be termed a lamp. The first lamps were made of naturally occurring objects, coconuts, sea shells, egg shells and hollow stones. Some believe that the first proper lamps were carved from stones. Archaeological chronologyIt were found in places dated to the 10th millennium BCE. (Mesolithic, Middle Stone Age Period, circa 10,300 - 8000 BCE)
Some Archaeologists claim that the first shell-lamps were in existence more than 6,000 years ago. (Neolithic, Later Stone Age, c. 8500 - 4500 BCE). They believe that the alabaster shell-shaped lamps dug up in Sumerian sites Sumerian were imitations of real shell-lamps that were used for a long time. (Early Bronze, Canaanite / Bronze I-IV, c.3300 - 2000 BCE)
It is generally agreed that the evolution of handmade lamps moved from bowl-shaped to saucer-shaped, then from saucer with a nozzle, to a closed bowl with a spout.
Chalcolithic Age, c.4500 - 3300 BCE.The first manufactured red pottery oil lamps appeared. These were of the round bowl type.
The Bronze Ages (3200-1200 BCE)Lamps were simple wheel-made bowls with a slight pinch on four sides for the wick. Later lamps had only one pinch. These lamps vary in the shape of the rim, the general shape of the bowl and the shape of the base.
Intermediate Bronze Age lamps (EBIV/MBI)
The earliest lamps known from Intermediate Bronze Age lamps (EBIV/MBI) With the four wick lamps. These lamps are made from large bowls with four shallow pinches for wicks.
Middle Bronze Age lamps (MB)
The four-wick oil lamps persist into this period, most of the lamps now have one wick. Early in this period the pinch is shallow, while later on it becomes more prominent and the mouth protrudes from the lamp's body. The bases are simple and flat. The crude potter�s wheel is introduced, transforming the handmade bowls to a more uniform container. The saucer style evolves into a single spout shape.
Late Bronze Age lamps (LB)
A more pronounced, deeper single spout is developed, and it is almost closed on the sides. The shape is evolving to be more triangular, deeper and larger. All lamps are now wheel-made. The base is simple, usually flat.
The Iron Age (1200-560 BCE)The rim becomes wider and flatter with a deeper and higher spout. The tip of the spout is more upright in contrast to the rest of the rim.
The lamps are becoming variable in shape and distribution. We still find lamps similar to the Late Bronze period. In addition, other forms evolve, such as small lamps with a flat base and larger lamps with a round base. The later form continues into the Iron Age II.
In the later Iron Age, we encounter variant forms. One common type is small, with a wide rim and a wide base. Another type is a small, shallow bowl with a thick and high discus base.
PersianThese large lamps have thin sides and a deep pinch, which flattens the mouth and makes it protrude outward.
GreekLamps are more closed to avoid spilling. They are smaller and more refined. Most are handleless. Some are with a lug, pierced and not pierced. The nozzle is elongated. The rim is folded over to make the nozzle, so it overlaps and is then pinched to make the wick hole.
They are round in shape, wheel-made.
Jewish oil lamps from Sardegna in the Museo Naziona Sanna Sassari Production of oil-lamps shifted to Italy as the main source of supply. Molds used. All lamps are closed in type. Lamps produced in large scale in factories. The lamp is produced in two parts, the upper part with the spout and the lower part with the fuel chamber. Most are of the characteristic Imperial Type. It was round with nozzles of different forms (volute, semi-volute, U shaped), with a closed body and with a central disk decorated with reliefs and its filling hole.
Late RomanThe High Imperial Type. More decorations. Produced locally or imported in large scale. The multiple-nozzled lamps appear. Different varieties.
In this period we find the frog type lamps. These are kidney or heart shaped or oval. With the motif of a frog or its abstraction, and sometimes with geometrical motifs. They were produced around 100 AD. They are so variant that it is seldom that two identical ones are found.
Byzantine period oil lamp, found in Samaria in a tomb Slipper shaped. Very decorative. The multiple nozzles continue. Most with handles. Some are complex in external anatomy.
March 12th, 2012
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