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Object Name: Lamp
Place of Origin: Vietnam
Date/Era: Dongson period (ca. 500 B.C.E.-200 C.E.)
Dimensions: H: 20.30 cm, W: 22.30 cm, D: 10.30 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Pal Family.
Accession Number: X2001.11.90
These are the oldest lamps in the Pal Collection, each coming from a different region in Southeast Asia. The presence of strong Indian influence by the time of the Angkor and Majapahit civilizations is widely recognized, so it is not surprising to find lamp forms in Cambodia or Java comparable to those of India. The Dongson period in Vietnam, however, predates this influence, and Dongson bronze work represents a separate tradition. The three lamps have been tested by X-ray fluorescence analysis, and their metal content is consistent with ancient origins, although this test in itself does not offer conclusive proof of the date of manufacture. If the alloy mixture had contained zinc (characteristic of brass rather than bronze), they would be assumed to be of a later date.
Source: Exhibition wall text, Flames of Devotion: Oil Lamps from South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayas.