Name of Object:

Hanging lamp


London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

The British Museum

About The British Museum, London

Date of Object:

Hegira 956 / AD 1549

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Stone-paste ceramic with blue and olive-green painting under the glaze.


Height 38.1 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Iznik, Turkey.


A bulbous-shaped lamp made from stone-paste ceramic with flared rim; a form typical of glass mosque lamps produced during the Mamluk period. Loops attached to the side would have been used to suspend the lamp. Bands of Qur’anic inscriptions, painted in white with a blue background, surround the rim, the waist, and the base of the lamp. Between these calligraphic panels are two friezes of cloud-scrolls and arabesques, painted in blue and olive-green. A row of white tulips fills a narrow band above the central inscription. Around the base are small cartouches with inscriptions giving the name of the decorator, Musli, and the date and place of production. It is in this respect that the lamp is so important, establishing the date of Iznik pottery in this style and colour scheme.
The austere design befits the religious setting for which this lamp was made. Between AH 936 and 946 (AD the 1530s and 40s) Süleyman the Magnificent (r. AH 926–73 / AD 1520–66) ordered the refurbishment of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Iznik tiles replaced the earlier mosaics on the exterior, while inside the building Iznik lamps were hung on chains. This lamp was found in the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem in the 19th century.

View Short Description

This ceramic lamp was evidently made for the refurbishment of the Dome of the Rock, ordered by Süleyman the Magnificent. Made in Ottoman Turkey in AH 956 / AD 1549, it was found in the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

How date and origin were established:

The lamp bears the date 956 (1549).

How Object was obtained:

Gift to the British Museum by C. Drury Fortnum in 1887.

How provenance was established:

The inscription on the base includes the place of production as well as a dedication to the Iznik holy person, Eşrefzade.

Selected bibliography:

Atasoy, N., and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989, cat. no. 239.

Carswell, J., Iznik Pottery, London, 1998, pp.65–68.

Rogers, J. M., and Ward, R., Suleyman the Magnificent, London, 1988, cat. no. 148.

Citation of this web page:

Emily Shovelton "Hanging lamp" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;uk;Mus01;39;en

Prepared by: Emily ShoveltonEmily Shovelton

Emily Shovelton is a historian of Islamic art. She studied history of art at Edinburgh University before completing an MA in Islamic and Indian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Since graduating she has worked on a number of projects at the British Museum. Other recent work includes editing and writing for a digital database of architectural photographs at the British Library. She is currently working on a Ph.D. on “Sultanate Painting in 15th-century India and its relationship to Persian, Mamluk and Indian Painting”, to be completed at SOAS in 2006. A paper on Sultanate painting given at the Conference of European Association of South Asian Archaeologists, held in the British Museum in July 2005, is due to be published next year.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: UK1 55


Related monuments

 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Ceramics

See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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