Inventory no.: 1733

Silver Yak Butter Lamps, Tibet/Nepal


Pair of Silver Yak Butter Lamps

Nepal or Tibet

19th century

height (each approx.): 12.4cm, diameter at top: 9.6cm

This elegant pair of yak butter lamps is of beaten and cast 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 the lamp are finely engraved all over with repeated Himalayan Buddhistic flower motifs.

The engraved motifs are not typically Tibetan and so these lamps might have been made for a Nepalese client or made by a Nepalese craftsman for a Tibetan client.

Typically, such lamps are found today as single lamps, but across the Himalayas in temples and monasteries, they are always used in pairs. They are in a fine, stable condition without any significant losses, dents or repairs. Their age is obvious as is their patina.


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


UK art market

Inventory no.: 1733