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Clay Lamps


Mass produced and discarded 2000 years ago by Romans who were interested in looking around them.

Hoarded en masse now by we who are nostalgic for what we already have.

Clay Lamps

Khīṇaṃ purāṇaṃ nava

natthi sambhavaṃ,

virattacittāyatike bhavasmiṃ.

Te khīṇabījā, avirūḷhichandā.

Nibbanti dhīrā yathāyaṃ padīpo.

When the past is gone

And nothing more arises

The mind no longer becomes.

When the seed is used up, craving ends.

The wise go out like the flame of this lamp

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca permalink
    29/07/2009 12:05 pm

    We need the practical objects of the past to help us re-learn how to live practically, rather than dependently. Keep these. In this resouce-greedy world that is spiralling out of control, we may need them.

  2. Dita permalink
    29/07/2009 5:41 pm

    These are beautiful. I am always inspired on how items of the ancient world are so similar – they look much Indian diyas. Instead of hoarding them, we should enjoy them and use them – both for their beauty and for their practical use. I humbly offer to become their host.

  3. Bodger permalink
    30/07/2009 9:56 am

    If nothing else, these objects should remind us that people in the past were skilled, possibly more so (from a practical point of view) than us.

  4. 31/07/2009 11:48 am

    These are fascinating and beautiful

  5. Bryan Sitch permalink
    22/09/2009 4:10 pm

    Of the four comments received, three were in favour of retention. There was one suggestion that we could go back to using clay lamps for lighting (Rachel’s above). During consultation over the development of the Ancient Worlds gallery there was strong interest in the use and display of lamps; in particular by members of the Sudanese community. They were interested in presenting displays of objects en masse that would have an aesthetic or dramatic effect and that would show developments of the shape and design through time. Use of large numbers of lamps remains a possibility and we should, therefore, retain the lamp.

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