Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragments of a Lamp

Object Name:
Fragments of a mosque lamp
10th–12th century
Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Glass, green; applied decoration
Assembled H. ca. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Diam. (lip) 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1948
Accession Number:
Not on view
Among hanging lighting devices, one type of lamp — globular in shape with a flaring neck — was especially common in Seljuq times. They are commonly called mosque lamps in reference to the enameled lanterns from Mamluk mosques in Cairo, which often include Qur’anic inscriptions. They were used most often in religious and funerary contexts, either hanging in a prayer niche or depicted on tombstones, mihrabs, or stele. Nevertheless, in Seljuq times the original context of these lamps is not always known. Many of the glass examples are quite small and not suitable for a large space. Indeed, if provided with a circular foot, they could be freestanding, or they might be stationary hanging lamps or portable lighting devices. Depictions in manuscripts suggest that, in addition to funerary and religious contexts, such globular lamps were used in domestic and private milieus.
1939, excavated in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1948, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

Corning, NY. Corning Museum of Glass. "Glass of the Sultans," May 24, 2001–September 3, 2001, fig. 5.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Glass of the Sultans," October 2, 2001–January 13, 2002, fig. 5.

Athens, Greece. Benaki Museum. "Glass of the Sultans," February 20, 2002–May 15, 2002, fig. 5.

Kröger, Jens. Nishapur: Glass of the Early Islamic Period. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995. no. 235, p. 182, ill. (b/w).

Carboni, Stefano, David Whitehouse, Robert H. Brill, and William Gudenrath. Glass of the Sultans. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. p. 20, ill. fig. 5 (b/w).

Canby, Sheila R., Deniz Beyazit, and Martina Rugiadi. "The Great Age of the Seljuqs." In Court and Cosmos. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. p. 90, ill. fig. 49 (b/w).

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