Votive Lamp (Changalavatta) - ROM2009_10990_1


Votive Lamp (Changalavatta)

Medium:Gilded bronze
Geography: Kerala, India
Date: 18th century
20 x 49 x 10 cm
Object number: 2008.68.1
Credit Line: Gift of Anandalakshmi Nair in memory of Kathamma Nair and Krishnan Nair
Not on view
DescriptionOften called a "Greek Lamp" this object is used in marriage ceremonies and other rituals, especially within Hindu communities in Kerala. It forms an important component of the Ashtamangalyam, eight auspicious things associated with the devotion of Lord Vishnu, who is associated with creation and protection. This stunning example has auspicious symbols etched into its surface, such as the conch shell and lotus, both symbolic of purity. Oil stored in its deep central chamber is ladled into the shallow basin to keep the wick burning for hours. This particular object was brought from Kerala, India to Canada in 1976. The donor received it from her mother (1922-1976) who received it from her mother (c.1870 - c.1963) before that. The lamp likely goes further back in the family history. The donor remembers her mother using it every year on festival days when she was a child. It is a wonderful example of the increasingly inter-twined histories of India and Canada through the movement of peoples and sharing of stories back and forth.
South Asia
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