Name of Object:

Mosque lamp


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

 About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

first half of hegira 8th century / AD 14th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

glass; painted and enamelled in dark-blue, white, red, and gilding.


Height 27 cm, diameter (of mouth) 21 cm

Period / Dynasty:



A hanging mosque lamp, with a fat body and a long neck, that widens towards the top. Six loops are attached for hanging up the lamp from chains. The entire surface of the lamp's body, which is painted green on the inside, is decorated with compositions in dark-blue, white, red, and gilding which form inscription bands and geometric and floral designs. Since the decoration is enamelled, its raised appearance gives the lamp's body a sense of depth.

The body features floral decoration in red and white medallions with pendants, while the neck has a border of arabesques and bears verses from the 'Light' chapter of the Qur'an (sura 24). Amid the inscription bands are round medallions showing polo sticks depicted in white on a dark-blue ground, a characteristic motif of the Mamluk period.

View Short Description

Hanging glass lamps were produced for lighting the holy areas and they were a divine symbol of the light. The glass lamps of the Mamluk period are decorated with the blazons of the rulers, which symbolise the power of the state.

Original Owner:

Sayf al-Din Ilmalak, Jaukandar (polo-chief) of Mamluk sultan al-Nasir Muhammad (his third reign: 709-740 /1310-1340)

How date and origin were established:

The polo sticks, painted in white on a dark-blue background within round medallions, are characteristic of the Mamluk period. The inscriptions on the neck also indicate that the lamp was made for the Jaukandar Sayf al-Din Ilmalak, who served the Mamluk sultan al-Nasir Muhammad, and who built a madrasa in Cairo in 1319. Therefore, the lamp is dated to the first half of the 14th century.

How Object was obtained:

The item was brought from the Mevlana Tomb in Konya to the Tiled Pavilion (Çinili Köşk), Istanbul, in 1898 and then transferred to the Museum in 1911.

Selected bibliography:

Kühnel, E.- M. A. Ogan, İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzelerinde Şaheserler, Vol. III, Çinili Köşk'de Türk ve İslam Eserleri Koleksiyonu, Berlin ve Leipzig, 1938, Tafel 28.

Ölçer, N., et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, p.182.

Citation of this web page:

Cihat Soyhan "Mosque lamp" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;tr;Mus01;23;en

Prepared by: Cihat Soyhan
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 41