Name of Object:

Oil lamp


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts

About National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts, Algiers

Date of Object:

Hegira 405–547 / AD 1015–1152

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Hand-moulded earthenware, then assembled.


Height 4 cm, sides 4 x 5 cm, width of the spout 4.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


This lamp is composed of a cubic oil compartment without a base, perforated on the side by a large hole that extends into a wide spout. The upper surface is pierced to form a filter composed of three triangular orifices through which the oil was poured. The lamp is equipped with an annular handle that is turned upwards.
A mesh that absorbed oil would have emerged from the spout. This lamp would have formed part of rural daily home-wares and was used to light up houses.

View Short Description

A rural domestic object, this lamp consists of a cubic reservoir with a large hole in one side that extends into a wide spout. The oil was poured in through the top, which is decorated with openwork, and the ring handle faces upwards. An oil-soaked wick would have been placed in the spout.

How date and origin were established:

The lamp was found on the Hammadid site (405–547 / 1015–1152) and has characteristics of Hammadid lamps: a long spout and an annular handle turned upwards.

How provenance was established:

The lamp was found in the Qal'at Bani Hammad.

Selected bibliography:

Institut du Monde Arabe, L'Algérie en héritage, art et histoire, catalogue, Paris, 2003.

Citation of this web page:

Houria Cherid "Oil lamp" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;4;en

Prepared by: Houria CheridHouria Cherid

Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (1992), enseignante à l'Institut d'archéologie de l'université d'Alger de 1992 à 1999, conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique au Musée national des antiquités de 1994 à 2002, puis conservateur en chef à partir de 2002, Houria Cherid est chef du service Labo-photo, département Animation et Documentation au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités et prépare actuellement un doctorat en archéologie islamique.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 07


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Settlements and Domestic Life

MWNF Galleries



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