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Glass Lamps from the Muslim World

From the 8th century, the Islamic world transformed the glass industry, developing objects of beauty & function. Colourful glass lamps were created to light mosques & palaces. Sought after, they were traded as far as Europe to China A thread on glass lamps in Muslim cultures...

Glassblowing was invented by Syrian craftsmen in the area of Sidon, Aleppo, Hama, and Palmyra in the 1st century BC, where blown vessels for everyday and luxury use were produced commercially, and exported to all parts of the Roman Empire

From Ibn Al-Haytam’s optical lenses and Ibn Hayyan’s chemistry flasks to a mosque lamp of Amir Qawsun, Muslim Civilisation played a major role in inspiring the growth of glass industry from the 8th century onwards Mosque Lamp of Amir Qawsun ca. 1329–35

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Glass from the Muslim world & especially that from Syria, was highly prized across the globe. Glass objects were discovered in medieval European sites in Sweden & Southern Russia - as early as the 13th century Glass lamps from the Muslim world have inspired design

Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar

In Mamluk Egypt, enameled glass oil lamps were used to light the interiors of mosques. These fragile vessels were suspended from the ceiling by chains attached to the glass loops on their sides Mosque Lamp 1385, Egypt, Mamluk

Khalili Collections

Mosque lamps survived in considerable numbers from the Islamic art of the Middle Ages, especially the 13th and 14th centuries, with Cairo in Egypt and Aleppo and Damascus in Syria the most important centres of production Mosque Lamp 1330, Egypt, Mamluk

British Museum

Mosque Lamp 1320-1330, Egypt, Mamluk This mosque lamp was made for Qijlis, a high official who had been the sultan’s armourer. His emblem was a sword, which can be seen in the large roundels with a quotation from the Qur’an that mentions ‘the mosques of God’

Victoria & Albert Museum

Techniques to make mosque lamps are typical of contemporary Islamic glass, with the enamel decoration applied to a pre-fired plain body & the whole fired for a 2nd time. The coloured decoration may include Qur'anic verses especially Ayat an-Nur or Verse of Light

National Asian Art Museum

The Verse of Light, Qur'an 24:35 Allah is the Light of the heavens & the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree...

Fitzwilliam Museum

The Verse of Light, Qur'an 24:35 ...neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.