Roman Coventina’s Well Incense Burner
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- Inventory on the way
The original find that inspired this replica was found at Coventina's Well in Northumberland. One of two incense burners found at the site; this stunning object is unusual because it is hand-built and made from tile clay. Roman potters at this time tended to wheel throw vessels or mould makes them as these are much faster production methods. The fact that the vessel was made of tile clay suggests it may have been made by a tile maker, probably as a side project and possibly on their lunch break. The use of palm trees as decoration makes it likely that the maker was from warmer climbs where palm trees would have been native.
The maker of this incense burner or thurible probably made it to use as a portable shrine for worship. On the vessel's side are written dedications to the Goddess Coventina and Saturn.
Coventina was the Romano-British Goddess of water, wells and springs, probably corresponding to the Roman Goddess Minerva. Inscriptions and a shrine to her have been found at a beautiful site on Hadrian's wall in Northumberland known as Brocolitia.
The area where her shrine stood is known as Conentina's Well and consisted of a walled area where worshipers had built the well to contain the overflow from a natural spring. Within this well, archaeologists discovered the incense burner alongside several other items likely to have been left as offerings to Coventina.
The shrine is next to an area where a Mithraeum, a temple to Mithras, has been discovered. It was common practice for the Romans to group their religious shrines.
The burning of incense was an integral part of Roman votive rituals allowing supplicants to make offerings to the gods from who they desired patronage and protection.
The petitioner would place a lump of burning coal in the burner's upper bowl. On top of this would be placed the resin or herbs that would smoulder gently and produce sweet-smelling smoke. It is known that Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon and rosemary were among the incense used during these rituals.
We have based this burner on a find that is part of the collection at York Museum.
The original that inspired this Incense burner is now part of the English Heritage Collection. It has been lent to them by The Trustees of the Clayton Collection.
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Approx. 250 mm tall, 217 mm diameter
As with all my Museum Quality Replicas, we have made this pot, as the original would have been, entirely by hand from natural clay and using replicas of the types of tools that the ancient makers would have used. As each pot varies, you may not receive the same cup in the image, but you can be sure that your pot will be one of a kind due to the variations caused by the firing process.
Health and Safety
Before attempting to use your burner, you must read the safety instructions below:
Burn ONLY use natural charcoal, fresh herbs and incense resin in your burner.
DO NOT use oil or other flammable liquids.
Place the lamp on a stable, non-absorbent and non-flammable surface, far from any heat sources.
Please DO NOT attempt to move or pick up your burner whilst it is lit and/or hot.
Ensure that there are no flammable materials above or near the burner.
Please DO NOT leave your burner unattended whilst it is lit and/or hot.
This burner is not a toy. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.
Use in a well-ventilated area, preferable outdoors.
When used, this burner will produce smoke and may set off fire alarms and cause problems for people with respiratory problems. Please be responsible and considerate when using this burner.
Use of this burner is at your own risk. We can not take responsibility for accidents or injuries caused by the use of this burner.
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