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Asian Art

Lamp in the Shape of the Mythical Tianlu

1st century B.C.E.–1st century C.E.


2 7/8 × 5 1/8 × 2 3/4 in. (7.3 × 13.02 × 6.99 cm)
Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore
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.
On view
Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.–9 C.E.)
Containers - Metals

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


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.

Brian Morgan, “The Unusual View of Jades,” The Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong Bulletin No. 6 (1984): 11.

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 such records is ongoing.