Inventory no.: 4060

Pair of Silver Butter Lamps, Tibet, 18th-19th century


Near Pair of Engraved Silver Butter Lamps


18th-19th century

heights: 14.7cm & 14.9c, diameters: 10.3cm, weights: 249g & 237g

This elegant pair of yak butter lamps is of beaten solid silver. Their form is reminiscent of the Christian chalice and they would have been used on an altar, filled to the brim with yak butter oil and with a single wick floating in each.

The baluster-form stems are richly cast with prominent lotus petal decoration. The outside walls of each lamp bowl are finely engraved all over with repeated Himalayan flower motifs and chased with cartouches of Buddhistic emblems.

Typically, such lamps are found today as single lamps, but across the Himalayas in temples and monasteries, usually they were used in pairs.

The examples here are in a fine, stable condition without significant losses, dents or repairs. Their age is obvious as is their patina, with the contours having been rounded and softened from years of use and handling.


Pal, P., Art of the Himalayas: Treasures from Nepal and Tibet, Hudson Hills Press, 1991.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 4060