VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Bronze oil lamp shaped as an elephant with rider
AK-MAK-268
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The wick of this oil lamp emerged from the elephant’s trunk and its massive body served as the reservoir for the oil. The animal and its rider are imaginatively represented, the elephant with its accolade-shaped ears edged with meanders and bushy eyebrows. This oil lamp shows an ascetic riding the strongest animal in the world, the elephant, without having to use a hook. He is seated loosely on the giant animal’s back, using nothing other than his mental powers to ride it.

History of the Object
The playful way the animal is represented demonstrates the liveliness of bronze art in 14th- and 15th-century Java. The striking rider is an ascetic. At the time, ascetics played an important role – they had gained supernatural powers and were hence able to perform supernatural deeds and even become immortal. Practicing ascetics was therefore encouraged.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
bronze 
Measurements
Width 12.3 cm Height 20.5 cm Length 24.9 cm  
Creator name
anonymous 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Indonesia 
Geography
Indonesia 
Time period
AD 14th century ~ AD 15th century 
Creation date
14th Century -15th Century 
Function
oil lamp 
Acquisition
Long-term loan from the Association of Friends of Asian Art (VVAK), acquired from the estate of F.L. Broekveldt in 1940 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst 
Museum
Rijksmuseum 
Credit line
 

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