Name of Object:



Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

During the reign of Sultan Bayezid II (hegira 886–918 / AD 1481–1512)

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Gilt copper, relief decoration and openwork.


Height 70 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Early Ottoman


The body of the lantern is hexagonal and gets narrower towards the top. Above the body is a dome with 12 perforated subdivisions and a knotted loop for hanging. Seven lamp holders project downward from the base. The door of the lantern has a single wing. The body has inscription bands in Persian at the top and bottom naming Sultan Bayezid II (r. AH 886–918 / AD 1481–1512), praising him and offering a short prayer. The areas between the inscription bands are decorated in openwork with medallions and half-medallions with arabesque pendants. The main ground is adorned with spiralling tendrils, chinoiserie motifs (e.g. peonies) and leaves. The dome is decorated with arabesques and palmette motifs in openwork. The decorative motifs are similar to those found on 9th- / 15th-century Ottoman tile work and arts of the book. The high number of surviving lanterns with similar subdivided domes and decorated with arabesques and chinoiserie motifs in engraving, relief, and openwork indicates that such lanterns were produced in large quantities in the second half of the AH 9th / AD 15th century. However, the questions of whether the craftsmen were Mamluk or Ottoman, and whether the lanterns were made in the Mamluk or the Ottoman dominions, remain open. This lantern is one of the best-known examples from this group.

View Short Description

This lantern's decoration closely parallels many examples of AH 9th- / AD 15th-century manuscript and tile arts. It is a beautiful example of gilded copperwork and is decorated in relief and openwork.

How date and origin were established:

The Persian inscription along the top and bottom of the lantern's body, insofar as it is legible, contains the name of Sultan Bayezid II (r. AH 886–918 / AD 1481–1512), a poem praising him and a short prayer.

How Object was obtained:

The lantern was brought to the Museum from the Tomb of Sultan Bayezid II in Istanbul on 29 September 1930.

Selected bibliography:

Anadolu Medeniyetleri III, Selçuklu-Osmanlı (Anatolian Civilizations III, Seljuqs-Ottomans), Istanbul, 1983, p.118.

ölçer N., et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, p.246

Citation of this web page:

Alev Özay "Lantern" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;ISL;tr;Mus01;19;en

Prepared by: Alev ÖzayAlev Özay

Alev Özay is an expert at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. She was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1942. She graduated from the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. She first worked at the museums of Tekirdağ and Kayseri. She attended Ottoman language courses in 1976–7 and restoration and conservation courses in 1982 organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. She published an article on the “Turbe of Sultan Ahmet” in 1979 and in 1983 prepared the catalogue for the Exhibition on Islamic Arts in the 15th Century of the Hijra.

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 34


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 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Ottomans | Art in the Spaces of Prayer

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Metalwork


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