A lamp’s aesthetics were often seen subordinating its utility, and more often it was conceived and seen as an artifact than a utility article. The lamp part, rounded tray for oil, in this peacock lamp, except its back conceived with lotus patterns, is quite simple, though the entire piece is unique in its aesthetic beauty. Its legs, which support this tray-part and the rest of the lamp, consist of three semi-nude sensually modeled maidens. Their figures reveal in their seating posture and otherwise exceptional beauty and elegance. The majestic peacock, the lamp’s crowning beauty, perched on a high pedestal in the centre of the tray with its most artistically conceived feather shooting into the air like a beautiful floral arabesque, is the most beautiful component of the lamp. However, more significant than the beauty of the artifact, and perhaps what the artist has sought to reproduce, is the mood of the bird. Perched on a high pedestal and head raised in pride, the vain peacock seems to announce that it is above both, the light and the darkness, and cares for none.
This astonishing piece of art created by blending into it utility with aesthetic beauty is both, an art work as also a lamp. With its rounded form conceived with provision for wicks or candles on three points for equally distributing its light on all sides the lamp seems to have been designed specially for a dining table, for if placed in its centre it shall illuminate with its fine gentle subdued light the entire table and everything but will not dazzle the sitters, and will make it in the true sense what is known in the modern days ‘a candle light dinner’.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.