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 Shovelton
Copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: UK1 55