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Brass Temple Hanging Lamp with Lustrating Lakshmi
South India, probably Kerala
18th-19th century

height: of lamp & chain: 105cm, width across: 26cm

This sculptural and usable temple hanging or chain lamp is of cast brass. The central sculptural element above the oil pan shows the goddess Lakshmi being
lustrated by two elephants. This is a common depiction of Lakshmi in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India's south.

The lamp is supported by a heavy cast brass chain and hanging hook.

Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort, is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. She is associated with light, hence the association of her image with lamps. The festival of
Divali (the 'festival of light') is staged across India each year in her honor.

Such hanging lamps are used primarily in a temple context (Anderson, 2006, p. 47).  The lamp here is of good size and heavy. It would have served as a focal
point in a temple.

References:
Anderson, S., Flames of Devotion: Oil Lamps from South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 2006.
Kelkar, D.G.,
Lamps of India, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India, 1961.

Provenance:  private UK collection

Inventory no.: 3382

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