Ancient Chinese lamp designed to 'swallow' smoke

NANCHANG • Millennia before China's smog made world headlines, Chinese lamp makers were coming up with designs to reduce air pollution, a new discovery has shown.

Chinese archaeologists excavating a noted Western Han dynasty (206BC to AD24) cemetery in east China's Jiangxi province have unearthed two 2,000-year-old bronze lamps that can "swallow" smoke.

The lamps are shaped like a goose with its beak clamped around a fish which works like a ventilation hood.

Wax is placed in a dish perched on the goose's back.

When the wax is burnt, smoke enters the bird's body via an opening on the fish, travels through the goose's neck and gets dissolved by water stored in the bird's hollow belly, Mr Xin Lixiang, who leads the excavation team, said yesterday.

The two lamps were found in September in the tomb of "Haihunhou" (Marquis of Haihun), the most complete Western Han dynasty cemetery ever discovered in China.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Ancient Chinese lamp designed to 'swallow' smoke'. Print Edition | Subscribe