Antique Hindu Votive Oil Lamp and Ladle, India (1204BHE) $450


H: 5.5”  W: 13.75”  D: 3” | FREE SHIPPING

This graceful South Indian cast brass oil lamp with attached spoon was used for Hindu prayer rituals.  It has an oil reservoir in the center, a shallow yoni shaped burner at the front, a finial at the end and it is mounted on a flared circular foot. The top surface is decorated with incised floral motifs.



A belief in Hinduism is that the light and heat produced by an oil lamp and incense burner aid devotees to access the divine and to focus their attention and awareness on the images of the deities (murti)  and their positive powers. Using them with fellow devotees in combination with the arati ritual (moving a lamp in front of a divine image in a circular motion) increases concentration, creates a space where the divine and devotees can spiritually interconnect, and demonstrates eternal devotion. Large elegant metalwork cast brass oil lamps were traditionally used in Kerala in south India to perform puja – Hindu prayer rituals – and had two functions: to rest on the floor independently and to carry when lighting other lamps. This low profile metalware bronze oil lamp from Trivandrum, South India has a deep reservoir for oil in the center, a shallow burner at the front shaped as a yoni, a finial at the end and is mounted on a flared circular foot.  The top surface is decorated with incised floral motifs. A ritual small spoon is attached to transfer oil from the reservoir to the front burner area. It is very similar to the one in the Flames of Devotion: Oil Lamps from South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayas in which Anderson wrote was “…an indicator of their dual role as devotional markers and articles of everyday use. With its attached ladle, the low-slung lamp includes a deep reservoir and cantilevered top with iconic imagery. The lines on the edge of the plate suggest a link to the deity Shiva as they resemble the deity’s implement of choice, the trishul or three-pronged staff.” The cobra-like end on these lamps may refer to Vasuki, the Hindu serpent king often seen around Shiva’s neck. With expected signs of use, some discoloration and fading details, it is in very good condition. It is part of the VA Collectin of Hindu-Cultural-and-Ritual Art.


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

Click here for the Hindu Home and Temple Shrine and Religious Practices Blog.

Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique (1200-1920)


18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 5.5” W: 13.75” D: 3”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 13.97cm W: 34.92cm D: 7.62cm


1lb 15oz


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size