Name of Object:

Mosque lamp

Location:

London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

The British Museum

 About The British Museum, London

Date of Object:

About hegira 750–61 / AD 1350–60

Museum Inventory Number:

1881.9-9.3

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Enamelled glass.

Dimensions:

Height 37 cm (max.), Diameter 23.6 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Mamluk

Provenance:

Egypt.

Description:

A glass mosque lamp with a rounded body, flared neck and attached splayed foot. The lamp is almost intact apart from the neck which has been repaired. Attached to the body of the lamp are six loops used to suspend the lamp from the ceiling. The lamp is covered in peonies outlined in red against a blue background. On the neck and underside of the body are three circular medallions of a composite vegetal design. This is a fine example of the more unusual type of Mamluk mosque lamps without inscriptions. The small numbers of similar lamps that survive are all associated with buildings constructed under Sultan Hasan ibn Muhammad. Rows of these lamps, lit up, illuminating the floral designs against a blue background would have been a spectacular sight in a mosque interior.

View Short Description

An enamelled glass mosque lamp with rounded body, flared neck and attached splayed foot. Although typical of Mamluk mosque lamps in shape and technique, this lampis unusual as it has purely floral or vegetal decoration and no inscriptions.

How date and origin were established:

This lamp is one of a group of lamps without inscriptions, decorated with purely floral motifs, produced in about the mid-7th / 14th century. They are associated with buildings commissioned by Sultan Hasan ibn Muhammad (r. between 747–51 / 1347–51 and again in 754–62 / 1354–61). Two similar lamps, now in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, were found in the Madrasa of Sultan Hasan built in 756 / 1356. Another lamp in the same museum in Cairo is inscribed with the name of Sultan Hasan.

How Object was obtained:

Bequeathed to the British Museum by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks in 1881.

How provenance was established:

This lamp bears close resemblance to others produced for buildings in Egypt that were commissioned by Sultan Hasan.

Selected bibliography:

Carboni, S., and Whitehouse, D., Glass of the Sultans, New York, 2001, p.237–38, cat. no. 118.
Harden, D., Painter, K., Pinder-Wilson, R., and Tait, H., Masterpieces of Glass, London, 1968, p.121, cat. no. 159.
Pinder-Wilson, R., "The Islamic Lands and China", in Five Thousand Years of Glass(ed. H. Tait), 1991, p.134, cat. no. 170.

Mamluk Art: The Splendour and Magic of the Sultans, p.76, reg. no. 270.

Citation of this web page:

Emily Shovelton "Mosque lamp" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus01;23;en

Prepared by: Emily Shovelton
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez


MWNF Working Number: UK1 27