Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan collection: Felsinean phase

Bronze candelabrum

Although in the ancient world the rhythm of life was mainly dictated by the sunlight, however, the use of instruments for the illumination is well documented.

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Unlike the Greeks and the oriental world, the Etruscans rarely used oil lamps. Aristocrats used mainly wax candles to light their homes, supported by bronze candelabra or torch stands. Candelabra comprised a tall vertical shaft and a crown of sharp prongs where the candles were set in a perpendicular position. Often a decorative statuette, called a finial, was added at the centre of the prongs. The placing of a candelabrum in the tomb is an immediate reference to the banquet, an event that allowed the use and display of these refined lighting devices. Candelabra like this were widespread in the Po Valley area where the production was presumably located. This example was founded in a femal tomb, which gave the richest funerary equipment of Bologna's etruscan necropolis, and it is unique for dimension and refinement: the supporting part is made as a tripod with lion's paws and the finial is a statuette of a woman hugging a boy.

Provenance: Bologna, Giardini Margherita necropolis, “Tomba Grande”
Datation: Mid-5th century BC
Material: bronzo
Dimensions: h cm 157,6
Inventory #: 17198

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