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Pair of Indo-Portuguese Silver Church Lanterns

Goa, India
19th century

height: 20cm, width: 13.8cm, weight: 972g



UK art market

This pair of pagoda-style lamps or lanterns in high-grade silver was designed to hang in a church. Each would have had a small candle inside.

The hexagonal frames have pierced domes and finials that are fitted with silver loops for suspension. The domes are decorated with open-work flower motifs.

The frames are engraved with floral and architectural motifs. Each also has six feet.

The ‘windows’ of each side are fitted inside with silver sleeves to allow glass to be fitted.

The work on the lanterns is somewhat naive but typical of silver items meant to be suspended at a height and not seen close-up. The work on these lanterns is very similar to other published examples of silverwork made in Goa for local churches. See for example a silver censer attributed to 17th century Goa (Curvelo, 2008, p. 20) in Lisbon’s Orient Museum. The lanterns here are in the same style but we feel the work is later so have given a 19th century dating.

Our examples have later inscriptions engraved to each of  their bases indicating that they were presented by a local Bombay company to a (probably) British couple in 1981, possibly as a farewell gift.

The pair of lanterns are in fine, usable condition.


Curvelo, A., et al, The Orient Museum, Lisbon, Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 2008.

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