Floor Lamp 座敷ランプ

With Japan’s opening to the world, kerosene lamps, a new type of lighting fixture, were imported from Europe and America. The imported lamps were, however, expensive and not readily available. Over time, production of the fragile glass lamp chimney and the oil pot for these lamps made progress in Japan, and domestically produced kerosene lamps became the standard lighting fixture in the Meiji period. The imported lamps were relatively short, since they were designed for placement on a tabletop, a design that suited the table- and chair-based culture of the West. To make the new technology fit Japanese lifestyles, in which sitting on the floor in a tatami-covered sitting room was a central element, the lamps needed to be redesigned. They were given tall bases so that they could be placed directly on the floor of the sitting room. Improvements were also made in the wick, to increase the brightness of the light produced. The main type was a flat, belt-like wick, but a cylindrical coiled wick was also used to increase the area in which the fuel was burning and thus make the light brighter. The coiled wick, however, consumed far more kerosene. Its use was thus usually confirmed to special situations, such as when welcoming a guest.
Collection of
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Floor Lamp
Collection ID
Lifestyle and Folk Custom
Creation Date
18.4cm x 18.4cm x 77.2cm
Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives

Other items of Edo-Tokyo Museum (7939)