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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Han dynasty
Title: Pottery Lamp
Creation Start Date: -29
Creation End Date: 299
Creation Date: 3rd century B.C. - 3rd century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: pottery
Materials and Techniques: glazed earthenware
Dimensions: H.33-3/16 x W.13-15/16 x D.14-3/4 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 99.68a-c
Credit Line: Gift of Wayne and Rosalee McFarlan
This grand, three-tiered pottery lamp was originally placed in a Han dynasty (206 b.c.-a.d. 220) tomb where it was deemed necessary for the soul's safe journey into the next life. The complex structure probably replicates even more elaborate bronze lamps used by Han dynasty aristocrats in their homes and palaces. By this time, the Chinese had already developed a taste for decorative lanterns and special lighting effects. Most lamps of this period used floating wicks fueled by vegetable oil or paraffin.
The lampstand consists of three detachable basins each with four birds possibly representing auspicious phoenixes, perched on their rims. A single bird surmounts the top and, like the other twelve, would have carried the oil and wick to produce the flame. When completely lighted, the effect of the flickering flames must have been dazzling.
AMICA ID: MIA_.99.68a-c
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights:
? The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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