Sri Lankan Oil Lamp

Sri Lankan Oil Lamp
Object Image taxonomy
  • Stage: All
  • Curriculum: Wellbeing, Studies of Religion
  • Topics: Sri Lanka

 

A tall golden object with flowers and candles and a bird at the top.

Look closely what do you see?

 

This is a traditional brass oil lamp from Sri Lanka. In the Tamil language is it known as a kuthu vilakku. 

Traditional lamps are used by many cultural and religious communities in Sri Lanka including Hindu and Buddhist communities. One common festival where the communities light this lamp is at the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Traditionally, the lamp is filled with coconut oil and a wick is used to create the flame.  It is customary to include an uneven number or wicks or candles when lighting the lamp. Sometimes is it adorned with flowers or tea light candles instead of oil.

 

We might wonder why it has a bird at the top.

What do you wonder?

 

Object name: kuthu vilakku (Tamil)
Material: brass
Size: one metre
Origin: It is owned by a Tamil family who brought the lamp over to Australia when they migrated in 1986.

This photo was taken in 2022 at a Wedding Anniversary. In many Sri Lankan families, it is lit on special occasions including religious celebrations and weddings. At the wedding reception, the bride and groom will light the candles together to symbolise the uniting of two families.