Two lamps similar in design were found buried in the relic chamber of the Sutighara Cetiya of Dedigama.
This unique archaeological exhibit gives an insight into the advanced state of technological development during the reign of King Parakramabahu.
The lamps belong to the twelfth century A.D.
The elephant lamp is an ingenious creation of an unknown craftsman.
The lamps are of the hanging type and of a unique design.
The excavations conducted by the Department of Archaeology at the Sutighara Cetiya revealed that the upper chamber contained, at the centre, a pedestal built of brick in the shape of the model of the cetiya as the architects had conceived it - a stupa in the lotus shape (padmakara).
On this pedestal was a reliquary of thin sheet gold 4.5 inches (11 cm) in height and studded with precious stones.
There were niches in the four walls of the chamber, and in each of these was a statuette of the Buddha of about 4 inches (10 cm) high encased in gold sheets under makara torana arches ornamented with gems.
At the four corners of the chamber were four lamps - two of which were the elephant lamps while the other two resembled a lotus bud design.
All of these lamps had soot and pieces of burnt wick in the oil containers.
It was proof that these were placed lit when the chamber was closed.
Many more valuable and interesting treasure were discovered at this site.
All these are displayed in the museum