A Pair of Cloisonné enamel Recumbent ‘Ram’ Lamps
Late Qing Dynasty
Each designed as a hinged box and cover, the fleece delineated with wavy gilt wires on a turquoise ground, a dark blue streak running down the spine, the curling horns enamelled mottled blue, the ears pink, the beard champlevé enamel, with gilt hooves. Each ram 21cm long.
The form of these lamps is based on a Han dynasty original. During the Han dynasty, lamps replaced candles as the main source of light, and became correspondingly more elaborate and ingenious. As with the present lamps, the hinged back was designed to swing up and rest on the ram’s head to hold the wick and oil. When closed, any remaining oil would run back into the ram for storage.