(top) Ettore Sottsass, Ashoka Lamp, for Memphis, 1981 (source)
The lamp was named for an Indian emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, Ashoka (ca. 304-232 BC), known for renouncing all violence and converting to Buddhism. He was also responsible for the first Buddhist missions to Southeast Asia.
He commissioned the Great Stupa at Sanchi, (above) in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India, in the 3rd century BC. It is one of the country’s most well-known Buddhist monuments.