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Devotional Brass Oil Lamp

19th-early 20th century

height: 19.2cm, width: 14.3cm, depth: 16cm



UK art market

This bronze oil lamp is cast with a deity  – possibly Vishnu – which stands on the rim of the oil well and framed by the backplate, has been cast in brass as three separate sections – the oil pan, the deity, and the backplate.

The backplate is topped with a prominent protective kurtimukha mask and also cast with a pair of elephants which stand on their hindfeet ready to lustrate the deity, as well as female goddesses with parrots on their shoulders, and more parrots.

The rim of the oil pan is also decorated with solid cast brass parrots, and there is a further parrot at the very front of the oil pan.

Related lamps are illustrated in Kelkar (1961) and Dehejia (2002, p. 221).


Anderson, S., Flames of Devotion: Oil Lamps from South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 2006.

Dehejia, V. (ed.), The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India, American Federation of Arts, 2002.

Kelkar, D.G., Lamps of India, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India, 1961.

Rawson, P., Tantra, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1971.

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