Name of Object:

Oil lamp


Amman, Jordan

Holding Museum:

Jordan Archaeological Museum

About Jordan Archaeological Museum, Amman

Date of Object:

Hegira 2nd–3rd century / AD 8th–9th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Moulded, hard-baked (buff ware) ceramic with a blackish brown slip.


Height 5.5 cm, length 10 cm, width 9.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A ceramic, roughly triangular lamp that has four nozzles and a large handle, which has a highly debased animal's head at the end. Within its two inner channels are decorative lines in relief; a single line of kufic inscription is seen on each outer channel, which reads: 'Astura wa ibin Astan' ('Astoura and son of Astan'). The lamp is moulded, hard-baked buff ware with a metallic blackish brown slip that has been blackened by smoke. Such a lamp would have been used to in a domestic context.

View Short Description

Ceramic lamp with four nozzles and a large handle, which has a debased animal’s head at the end. The body carries a kufic inscription that reads: Astura wa ibn Astan (Astoura and son of Astan). Such a lamp would have been used in a domestic context.

How date and origin were established:

The lamp has been dated by comparison with similar ones found at Khirbat al-Mafjar, an Umayyad palace in Jericho.

How Object was obtained:

Unknown; there is no information about how this lamp was acquired.

How provenance was established:

The provenance is not known.

Selected bibliography:

Khairy, N. I., and Amr, A. J., 'Early Islamic Inscribed Pottery Lamps from Jordan', Levant, XVIII, 1986, London, pp.143–53, plate XL, cat. no. 13.

Citation of this web page:

Aida Naghawy "Oil lamp" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;jo;Mus01;21;en

Prepared by: Aida NaghawyAida Naghawy

Aida Naghawy is an archaeologist and the Director of Jordan Archaeological Museum. She studied archaeology at the University of Jordan where she gained her MA. She was affiliated to the Jordanian Department of Antiquities from 1974 as a curator of Jordan Archaeological Museum. In 1981 she became inspector of Jerash antiquities and co-ordinator of the Jerash International Rehabilitation project. She was also head of the archaeological awareness section at the Department of Antiquities. Aida is the author of numerous publications on Islamic coins. She has carried out excavation work in Jerash and is the founder of Jerash Archaeological Museum and the Islamic Museum of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.

Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: JO 42


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