Historical period(s)
Mamluk period, ca. 1360
Glass, enameled and gilded
H x W: 33.6 x 30.5 cm (13 1/4 x 12 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses
Glass, Vessel


Egypt, Mamluk period (1250 - 1517), Roman Period (30 BCE - 395 CE)
Provenance research underway.

One of the major art forms that flourished during the Mamluk period was that of enameled and gilded glass. Glass mosque lamps enjoyed particularly popularity in the fourteenth century and were commissioned by the Mamluk rulers to illuminate the interiors of mosques and other religious establishments. Sultan Hasan (reigned 1347–51 and 1354-61) ordered a great number of these polychrome lamps, including this example, for his celebrated madrasa built in Cairo in 1356-62.

This object typifies both the shape and the decoration of 14th century Mamluk lamps.  It has a high neck and bulbous body with six suspension handles on the sloping shoulders. The neck contains a verse from the Qur'an (XXIV: 35) related to the manifestation of divine light in Islam. This well-known passage is interrupted by three epigraphic blazons of the Sultan Hasan, which also appear on the lower part of the lamp.

Published References
  • Yale University Press. God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth: Light in Islamic Art and Culture. Virginia. .
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Yemenite Bible Manuscripts of the XVth Century. Jerusalem. pl. 20.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. The Freer Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian Institution., 11th printing. Washington. p. 10.
  • Gaston Migeon. Exposition des Arts Musulmans au Musee des arts decoratifs., April 1903. cat. 16, p. 25.
  • Betsy Vourlekis, National Docent Symposium Council. Tours with Children and Teens: A Handbook for Docents and Guides. Gold River, California, June 28, 2022. p. 26.
  • Title unknown. no. 111 Edinburgh. p. 32.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Ancient Glass in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1962. p. 34.
  • Gaston Migeon. Exposition des Arts Musulmans: au Musee des Arts Decoratifs. Exh. cat. Paris. no. 549, p. 82.
  • Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1957-1958. Washington, 1957-1958. p. 110, pl. 6.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 121, fig. 82.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 76, pp. 140-141.
  • Carl J. Lamm. Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten. Forschungen zur Islamischen Kunst 2 vols., Berlin. cat. 132, p. 460, fig. 194.1.
  • David Summers. Real Spaces: World Art History and the Rise of Western Modernism. New York, 2003. p. 468, fig. 245.
  • Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 862-884.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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