Re-Illuminating the Past: Ancient and Medieval Oil Lamps from the Bogue Collection
Sponsored by Unviersity of Puget Sound
Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Wyatt Hall, Room 109
University of Puget Sound
Tacoma, WA 98416
United States

This lecture by Ann Nicgorski will bring to light a rarely seen collection of about 200 ancient lamps that was donated to the Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University in 1962 by Mr. Robert Bogue, who acquired the lamps while working in Egypt for the World Health Organization. The lamps in this collection range in date from approximately 3000 BCE through the Medieval/Arab periods and represent several diverse ancient cultures (including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Early Christian, Jewish, Byzantine, and Islamic). The lamps also represent a wide variety of materials, including bronze and stone, although most are mold-made from terra cotta. All are fairly well preserved and many are adorned with fascinating decorations (e.g., Eros and Aphrodite, Daniel, frogs and fishes, crosses and a menorah) as well as potter’s marks. Lacking a known excavated context, the lamps of the Bogue Collection also raise some important ethical and hermeneutic questions, further complicated by their dual significance as archaeological artifacts and as works of art, coveted by collectors and museums alike.  Nevertheless, despite these issues, the lamps can still provide much insight into the lives, religious beliefs, technologies, and trade routes that link the many diverse cultures of the ancient Mediterranean across the expanse of space and time.

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