Lamps from India

India has a rich tradition of lamps made largely in metal, and terracotta. Here are a few from our collection
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large oil lamps with multi-tiered basins or thattus are known as the thattu vilakku.The basins are odd in number and a lamp could have upto 153 of them. They are usually used in temples. This particular one has a peacock finial.

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The #kuthiraVilakku is a hanging oil lamp with a horse head as its most prominent design feature.The lamp is engineered to ensure that whichever direction the lamp is turned, it will return to its original position. It also remains horizontal, thus ensuring that no oil is ever spilled. and makes it suitable for outdoor usage where it may be exposed to wind. The horse is a martial motif, so this is reserved for the use of the warrior class..This lamp dates from the #18thCentury, #Kerala

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Oil lamps or #vilakkus, integral part in Hindu temples, domestic shrines, and homes were incorporated into the rituals of early Christian converts in #Kerala. This lamp dates from the #17thCentury,

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Cast bronze, Kerala, #aal vilakku or Banyan lamp is inspired by that of the banyan tree. The tiered branches and leaves of the ‘lamp-tree’ form myriad small oil holders – often an auspicious number such as 1001. Such lamps are usually large and reserved for ritual use in Hindu temples.

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Thooku vilakku or hanging lamps crafted in bronze or brass are a common feature at temples, churches, mosques and domestic shrines in Kerala. Traditionally, they were lit each day at dusk, before any other lamp was lit in the house. his lamp dates from the #18thCentury, #Kerala

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Cast bronze, Kerala, The #kavaravilakku, literally the 'branched lamp', represents the cosmic tree of life

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This type of bronze lamp is known as the #kindiVillaku because its oil reservoir is shaped like the kindi, the pitcher commonly used during religious ceremonies to dispense holy water. Kindi vilakku were traditionally used in #Kerala and #TamilNadu for lighting wicks in prayer rooms and temples.This lamp dates from the #17thCentury,

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The #kuthiraVilakku is a hanging oil lamp with a horse head as its most prominent design feature.The lamp is engineered to ensure that whichever direction the lamp is turned, it will return to its original position. It also remains horizontal, thus ensuring that no oil is ever spilled. and makes it suitable for outdoor usage where it may be exposed to wind. The horse is a martial motif, so this is reserved for the use of the warrior class..This lamp dates from the #18thCentury, #Kerala

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Cast bronze, In most respects, this oil lamp resembles the #nilavilakku or floor lamp used in Hindu temples and homes. However, the elongated finial that surmounts the nilavilakku is replaced in this example by the Cross associated with the Jacobite Syrian Christian community.

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The #vanchiVilakku or ‘boat lamp’ derives its name from its boat-like drip basin. As is customary, this vilakku has five holders.Such flame-lamps are reserved for use during temple processions. This lamp dates from the #18thCentury, #Kerala

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