1st–3rd c. CEterracotta8 11/16 in. × 6 1/8 in. (22 cm. × 15.5 cm.)

Gift of Mr. Dana C. Estes, Honorary Degree 1898


Among the many forms of lighting in the ancient Mediterranean, lanterns like this one were also used to diffuse light outdoors or across larger spaces. This terracotta lamp is one of several discovered by Alessandro Palma di Cesnola during excavations on Cyprus between 1876 and 1879 and published in the early 1880s; two have since entered the Museum’s collections. The present example was made in two parts on a potter’s wheel and features an attached loop for hanging. The body is pierced with three rows of evenly spaced holes to diffuse light, and the rear has a large port for placing a lamp or candle.

—Sean P. Burrus


1876–8, excavated in Cyprus by Major Alessandro Palma di Cesnola under the patronage of Edwin Henry Lawrence; 1879, Lawrence-Cesnola Collection, London; 1892, purchased by Dana C. Estes at Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge auction, London; acquired by Bowdoin College Museum of Art in 1898, gift of Dana C. Estes.

Dana C. Estes

Maine native Dana C. Estes (1840–1909) was a founding partner of a prominent Boston bookseller and publishing house, Estes & Lauriat (est. 1872), which later operated as Dana Estes & Co. (1898–1909).

Region: Cyprus See all 21
Map of Mediterranean Sea with the Cyprus highlighted.