Name of Object:
Lamp with a spout
Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia
Museum of Islamic Art
Date of Object:
Hegira 4th–early 5th centuries / AD 10th–11th centuries
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Diameter 9.9 cm, length 15.1 cm
Period / Dynasty:
The belly of the oil reservoir is disc-shaped and sits on a high, wide, hollow, decahedral base. The neck is damaged.
View Short Description
Reminiscent of Byzantine lamps, its shape and proportions are quite distinctive. Resting on a decahedral base, the lamp has a disk-shaped belly with a truncated cone-shaped neck. It is similar to lamps found in Spain and Portugal.
How date and origin were established:
Similar lamps from Spain and Portugal definitely date from the 4th–5th / 10th–11th centuries. However, the Hilalian invasions in the middle of the 5th /11th century brought about the collapse of the Tunisian economy and the decadence of its craftsmanship, which implies that this date is a terminus post quem.
How Object was obtained:
After its discovery the lamp first went on display at the Bardo Museum and was then transferred in 1995 to the Museum of Islamic Art at Raqqada.
How provenance was established:
This cast-bronze lamp was discovered by chance, on an unknown date, probably during the 1940s, at Chebba, a small town on the eastern coastline of Tunisia near Mahdiyya, the ancient Fatimid capital. Evidence suggests it is of Ifriqiyan fabrication.
Marçais, G. and Poinssot, L., Objets Kairouanais, XI, fasc. 2, Tunis, 1952, pp.459–61.
Citation of this web page:
Mourad Rammah "Lamp with a spout" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;tn;Mus01;16;en
Prepared by: Mourad Rammah