Ancient Lamps in New England Collections Exhibited
Light from the Age of Augustine, a newly opened exhibition in Cambridge, MA, provides an illuminating look at how iconography of ancient lamps reveals much about early Christian history.
The exhibition features more than 100 ancient lamps and pottery objects from Roman North African now in New England collections. The exhibition includes a number of objects previously offered by Fragments of Time and now generously loaned to the exhibition by their private owners.
A wonderful full-color 100-page catalogue produced for the exhibition is sure to be must-have reference for collectors of lamps and students of this era of history alike. The exhibition catalogue, (van den Hoek and Herrmann) Light from the Age of Augustine, may be purchased directly from Fragments of Time at only $20 plus postage.
The intention of the exhibition, curated by Annewies van den Hoek and John J. Herrmann, Jr., is to show how modest ceramic materials produced in the area of what is now Tunisia provide a vivid document of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine world. St. Augustine was the most celebrated resident of the area in the century when the North African potters were at their peak (350-450 AD).
Biblical subjects on the lamps and vases reflect the newly dominant Christian religion, but also the survival of traditional cults and myths. Other images reflect the eternal interests and the often brutal entertainments of the North African and Mediterranean populations.
While the original exhibition at Harvard University ended June 24, 2002, there is hope that the exhibition may travel to several other museums though nothing definitieve has been scheduled. In the meantime, the color exhibition guide is highly recommended for all lamp enthusiasts!