Butter lamp with inscription
  See it in the Museum
Reception desk
Orientation 2
Plinth 1

ABR 069

 Code: ABR 069

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1800 - 1800

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 24 x 32 x 24

  Materials: Silver

Silver butter lamp with inscription

This imposing butter lamp is made of embossed silver. Butter lamps are part of the furnishings of Tibetan temples and altars. The flames of these lamps are traditionally nourished with clarified dri butter (the female yak), today sometimes vegetable oil is used. These combustibles are donated by pilgrims to keep the lamps burning brightly, an occasion for them to accumulate merits and virtue. Traditionally, Tibet’s dark temples are exclusively illuminated by the light of countless flickering butter lamps. This thought guided the conceptualisation of the lighting of the works of art in this museum.

Light offering is part of the seven traditional offerings of India, displayed on Tibetan altars. The symbolism of the lamp remains associated with wisdom and knowledge dispelling the darkness of ignorance. The long Tibetan inscription on the lamp consists of an eight verses prayer describing this lamp “made of two ounces of silver, bright as the moon through the accumulation of virtue.” The name of the commissioners might indicate this lamp was made in the Gelukpa monastery of Drepung, near Lhasa.