Oil Lamps

Oil lamps have been used to provide light as well being vial components in religious rituals. Called a diya when it is used daily by Hindus throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are made of clay, brass or other copper/metal alloys and gold and silver for the rich. Clay lamps are usually used with a cotton wick and oil or clarified butter (ghee) as a short term light source for special occasions and ceremonies or on a daily basis for prayer rituals performed in the home or at temples for devotional worship of or showing reverence to Hindu deities (puja). Metal diyas are more permanent fixtures in the home and in temples and are also used to celebrate all kinds of events including a wish to honor a guest’s arrival, celebrate the passing or recall the memory of a loved one, or celebrate almost any important life event. Metal diyas are usually one-of-a-kind hand-cast pieces made using the lost wax method where each mold is hand-made and destroyed in the casting process. Hindus believe that diyas are essential, as light itself is the absence of darkness and where evil forces dwell. Therefore, light and the act of lighting a lamp signifies purity, virtuosity, goodness and brings one good luck and power. Antique oil lamps were found throughout the Roman Empire catacombs as manifestations of the presence of the divine. Our collection also includes carved wood oil lamps.

Showing all 6 results

  • Antique Hindu Peacock Oil Lamp, India


    This brass oil lamp topped by peacock sitting high on a thin mount with decorative flared thin coils on a spiral base was used for Hindu prayer rituals (puja) performed in the home or at temples and for devotional worship. The surface of this simple elegant object provides a contrast between decorative motifs and unarticulated areas to emphasize the large peacock’s long head, plump body and tail form. Above the peacock whose body serves as the reservoir for oil is a smaller one that is decorated with striated lines. This fine lost wax lamp with a soft patina from age is a one-of-a-kind piece that can’t be copied as the mould is destroyed after use. Often used in Hindu religious sculptures, peacocks have a strong religious tradition and represent harmony, joy and beauty as well as the time cycle.


  • Antique Lakshmi Oil Lamp, India


    This antique oil lamp represents Lakshmi one of the most popular goddesses in Hindu mythology. She sits in yoga posture with four arms on a lotus throne flanked by two elephants on the front and back of the lamp with raised trunks pouring water over. The bowl that holds oil is yoni shaped.  The lamp is in good condition with a nicely aged patina and minor verdigris in the bowl and on the base. Letters on the bottom of the lamp probably identify the metalsmith who cast this piece.


  • Antique Pair of Double Happiness Oil Lamps, China


    Each of the antique carved wood oil lamps of this pair is filled with auspicious symbols to bring health, wealth and happiness to its owner – both in the past and in the present. Their vertical shafts are composed of stylized double happiness characters mounted on a rounded stand on four feet. Painted in gold and red for good luck, their articulated decorative rectangular tops are covered with carved lozenge designs and five-leaf plumb blossoms on each side.

  • Antique Wood & Stone Oil Lamp with Double Fish & Lotus Design, China


    Oil lamps are a form of lighting similar to candles with a wick placed into the area holding the oil. This tall unique hand-carved wood oil lamp is beautifully decorated with auspicious symbols: on top a pair of finely carved fish, halfway up a lotus seed pod on a lotus leaf  to hold the oil and a base with a round lotus shape atop a square stone. In excellent condition, it was a well-used piece demonstrated by charred edges on the oil cup from the wick burning until all the oil was depleted.


  • Antique Wood Oil Lamp Double Fish Design, China


    Oil lamps were a form of lighting similar to candles using a small pool of oil with a cord wick in the center.This tall unique wood carved lamp has the area holding the oil jutted out halfway up the piece in the center of a lotus seed pod placed on a lotus leaf, topped by a pair of facing fish with finely detailed scales on a square stone stand.

  • SOLD Ancient Catacombs Terracotta Oil Lamp, Roman Empire


    This Roman catacombs terracotta oil lamp is a basic, undecorated and functional lamp beautiful in its simplicity. It is a very well moulded piece with a finely rounded circular body, a short raised rim surrounding the fill hole centered in the middle and has a hand made spatulate nozzle added to its body. The nozzle extends out with flat angular ridges and a wide opening to accommodate the wick that extends through it, inside the lamp and reaches over its edge. It has no handle but, like all such lamps, it has a flat bottom to rest comfortably and securely on any surface. Much of the original crème slip on this lamp remains and has turned a brownish-beige from the soil in which it was buried. There are minor chips the rim atop the fuel chamber and projecting nozzle which is otherwise is very good condition.

End of content

End of content