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Sustainable, Fairly Traded Capiz Shell

Tealights in Lotus Blossom Shapes


Lotus Capiz Shell Tea light Holder


These tealight holders are crafted of sustainable capiz shells, a shellfish used for food in the Philippines.  Each one is hang cut, died and soldered using lead-free solder into the shape of the sacred flower of Buddhism, the lotus.  They will hold a small tealight candle or battery operated tealight.  They come in several sizes and many color combinations.  Visit our gallery for our current selection. 

Each Paradise tea light holder is designed in the shape of an open lotus flower, with three rings of translucent capiz shell petals. Universally recognized as a symbol of peace and serenity, this handcrafted tea light holder is a glorious, soothing interplay of light and color. Use with a white or colored tea light to create a soothing peaceful ambiance. Perfect for meditation and yoga practice, relaxation and spa, or home accent. Designed to be placed on any flat surface. Handmade in the Philippines.

Capiz (Filipino:Kapis) is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Roxas City and is located at the northeastern portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, and Iloilo to the south. Capiz faces the Sibuyan Sea to the north. Capiz is known for its mother-of-pearl shells that have the same name and are used for decoration, making lampshades, trays, window doors. Capiz is known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines.

Placuna placenta, also known as capiz or windowpane oyster, is a bivalve marine mollusk in the family of Placunidae. Among the four species in the family, only the Placenta placenta has an outer shell translucent enough for commercial use.

These oysters are edible and sustainably harvested as well as farmed and while a delicacy, they are valued more for the shell which are used as a raw material in the manufacture of glue, chalk, varnish, as well a decorative items such as this box.   The translucent capiz shells are commonly used in window panes in India, the Philippines and other Asian countries. They are a cheaper alternative to glass and readily abundant. Windowpane oysters are also pearl producers which are commercially exploited.

The primary exporter of products made from the shellfish is the Philippines where it is known locally as kapis, also spelled capiz used in the manufacture of decorative items like chandeliers and lampshades to kitchen utensils like mats, trays and bowls.
"The lotus does not grow in Tibet and so Tibetan art has only stylized versions of it. Nevertheless, it is one of Buddhism's best recognized motifs since every important deity is associated in some manner with the lotus, either being seated upon it or holding one in their hands.


The Lotus (padma) is a very important symbol. In brief, it refers to the complete purification of body, speech and mind, and the blossoming of wholesome deeds in liberation. The lotus refers to many aspects of the path, as it grows from the mud (samsara), up through muddy water it appears clean on the surface (purification), and finally produces a beautiful flower (enlightenment). The white blossom represents purity, the stem stands for the practice of Buddhist teachings which raise the mind above the (mud of) worldly existence, and gives rise to purity of mind.  An open blossom signifies full enlightenment; a closed blossom signifies the potential for enlightenment.

The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. Though there are other water plants that bloom above the water, it is only the lotus which, owing to the strength of its stem, regularly rises eight to twelve inches above the surface.

Thus says the Lalitavistara, 'the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it.' According to another scholar, 'in esoteric Buddhism, the heart of the beings is like an unopened lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein, the lotus blossoms; that is why the Buddha sits on a lotus bloom.'

Significantly, the color of the lotus too has an important bearing on the symbology associated with it:

1). White Lotus (Skt. pundarika; Tib. pad ma dkar po): This represents the state of spiritual perfection and total mental purity (bodhi). It is associated with the White Tara and proclaims her perfect nature, a quality which is reinforced by the color of her body.
2). Red Lotus (Skt. kamala; Tib: pad ma chu skyes): This signifies the original nature and purity of the heart (hrdya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities of the heart. It is the flower of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
3). Blue Lotus (Skt. utpala; Tib. ut pa la): This is a symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, and signifies the wisdom of knowledge. Not surprisingly, it is the preferred flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.
4). Pink Lotus (Skt. padma; Tib. pad ma dmar po): This the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself."

Teoh Eng Soon, in his book The Lotus in the Buddhist Art of India, traces the first appearance of the lotus in Buddhist art to the columns built by Asoka in the 3rd Century BCE. However, the lotus is found frequently in the early Buddhist texts.

The lotus (padme) is an important symbol in Tibetan Buddhism and is commonly associated with the process of becoming a buddha. In Tibetan Buddhist iconography, buddhas are often seated on lotus thrones, indicating their transcendent state. A lotus is born in the muck and mud at the bottom of a swamp, but when it emerges on the surface of the water and opens its petals, a beautiful flower appears, unstained by the mud from which it arose. Similarly, the compassion and wisdom of buddhas arise from the muck of the ordinary world, which is characterized by fighting, hatred, distrust, anxiety, and other negative emotions. These emotions tend to cause people to become self-centered and lead to suffering and harmful actions. But just as the world is the locus of destructive emotions, it is also the place in which we can become buddhas, perfected beings who have awakened from the sleep of ignorance and who perceive reality as it is, with absolute clarity and with profound compassion for suffering living beings.

Just as the lotus arises from the bottom of a swamp, so buddhas were former humans, immersed in the negative thoughts and actions in which all ordinary beings engage: the strife, wars, petty jealousies, and hatreds to which all humans, animals, and other creatures are subject. Through their meditative training, however, buddhas have transcended such things, and like lotuses have risen above their murky origins and look down on them unsullied by the mud and mire below.

The symbolism may be extended still further, because Buddha's do not simply escape the world and look down on others with pity or detached amusement; rather, like the lotus, which has roots that still connect it with the bottom of the swamp, buddhas continue to act in the world for the benefit of others, continually manifesting in various forms in order to help them, to make them aware if the reality of their situations, and to indicate the path to the awakening of buddhahood, which can free them from all suffering.

Zanzibar Tribal Art Gallery

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