Lamp in the Shape of the Mythical Tianlu Artist: Unknown

1st century B.C.E.–1st century C.E.

Asian Art

On view, 2nd floor, Asian Art

Identified by its single horn, the tianlu is one of two chimeralike beasts that were believed to be protective and auspicious and became popular in Chinese art and literature during the Han dynasty. A small cover on the back of this vessel opens, suggesting that this charming bronze may have been used as an oil lamp.




2 7/8 × 5 1/8 × 2 3/4 in. (7.3 × 13.02 × 6.99 cm)

Credit Line

Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore

Accession Number



Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.–9 C.E.)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



R. Bensabott, Inc., Chicago, 1931; Mrs. William H. Moore (1858–1955), New York purchase in 1931; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

  • Brian Morgan, "The Unusual View of Jades," The Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong Bulletin No. 6 (1984): 11.
  • Desmond Gure, "Selected Examples from the Jade Exhibition at Stockholm, 1963: A Comparative Study," Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 36 (1964): 117–58.

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