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Large Silver Yak Butter Lamp

18th-19th century

height: 28.6cm, diameter: 19.3cm, weight: 773g



UK art market

This unusually large yak butter lamp is of beaten, cast solid silver that has been chased and engraved. It would have been used on an altar, filled to the brim with yak butter oil in which is single wick would float. The form is reminiscent of a Christian chalice.

The baluster-form stem is richly decorated with prominent lotus petal decoration. A central section is based on a Tibetan vase of immortality and this is set with coral and turquoise cabochons.

The outside walls of the lamp are finely engraved all over with repeated Himalayan Buddhistic flower motifs.

The lamp is in a fine, stable condition. There are minor dents here and there associated with age and use. Its age is obvious – it has fine wear and patina.


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

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