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16291

Stoneware Lidded Oil Lamp
Item No. 16291

19th Century, N/A, China
Ceramics
5.25" x 0" x 0"
( 13.335 x 0 x 0 cm)
(H x W x D)

This antique oil lamp consists of two parts: a large circular base with a footed pedestal and a circular lid toped by a stylized lotus bud as its handle. The top is decorated on the sides with four under glazed blue designs of the Wheel of the Law (the Dharmachakra). The Wheel symbolizes Buddha’s turning the wheel of the dharma, the basic tenets of Buddhism. The motion of the wheel is a metaphor for the spiritual change realized by following the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha’s first discourse at Dear Park in Sarnath is the referred to as the “first turning of the wheel of dharma. The wheel also represents the endless cycle of samsara, or rebirth which can only be escaped through the Buddha’s teachings. In some teachings, the wheel represents the “three trainings of Buddhist practice”--- the hub is moral discipline to stabilize the mind, the eight spokes the wisdom which defeats ignorance and the rim the training in concentration which holds everything else together.

This piece is an example of Shiwan ware which was popular in China during the 19-20th century.

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