Torch-Holder card

Torch-Holder

M12925
Large, solid-cast hooked end of a torch-holder, intended to fit a long wooden pole, its shaft hollowed partway to accommodate the wooden handle (missing). A plain conical shaft is open below, with round moulding marking the transition to a twisted shaft bent nearly 90-degrees so that a set of six thin, deeply curved, pointed prongs projects below it from an openwork ring; rising from the base and parallel to the other prongs is a large ring with small prong at its base. Chipped and corroded, with dark patina. Although this type of object used to be called a 'harpago' ('meat hook') because it was thought it was used in sacrifices, it is now believed they were used to light the tomb or to to safely hold and carry oil-soaked rags or other combustibles to show the way in dark city streets. In addition, representational evidence suggests that wedding processions were led by torchbearers.