Patron: Ruhallah
Historical period(s)
Safavid period, ca.1575-1625
Brass, incised and inlaid with black and red compounds
H x Diam: 35.8 × 23.6 cm (14 1/8 × 9 5/16 in) Diam (mouth): 11.5 cm (4 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase – In memory of Dr. Djamchid Darvich-Kodjouri and Mrs. Charlotte Darvich-Kodjouri
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 04: Engaging the Senses
Furniture and Furnishing, Metalwork


Iran, Safavid period (1501 - 1722)

Early 20th century
Unidentified American diplomat, collected in Persia [1]

To 2013
Private collection, Santa Cruz, California, through inheritance from an unidentified American diplomat

Sale, Scotts Valley, California, Robert Slawinski Auctioneers, Inc., February 17, 2013, lot 100

From 2013 to 2019
Shariar M. Ghassemi of Art Passages, San Francisco, purchased at auction, Robert Slawinski Auctioneers, Inc., Scotts Valley, California, February 17, 2013, lot no. 100 [2]

From 2019
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Shariar M. Ghassemi of Art Passages, San Francisco, California


[1] See Invoice from Art Passages, object file, Collections Management Office. See also email from Shariar Ghassemi dated May 24, 2019, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Robert Slawinski Auctioneers
Shariar M. Ghassemi


An inscription encircles the top and a second one appears around the base. Each band is divided into four cartouches and is written in nasta'liq. The upper verses are from the 427th ghazal (poem with a minimum of five couplets) of the celebrated poet Hafez of Shiraz (d. 1393), which read as follows:

The candle is like a moth heading for your light /
Ecstatic for your state, my senses have taken flight
Happily the candle lost its light to a breeze /
As if a moth reached your candle's light

The lower inscription also refers to light and maintains:
All night I burn love instead of light/ disappointed is not surprising
It is from a candle that was dark next to the light/
The owner of this light, Ruhallah


With its gently flaring base, this type of columnar lampstand became popular in Iran with the accession of the Safavid dynasty after the 1500s. Originally, the lampstand incorporated a cap, which would have served as a container for oil and transformed it into an oil lamp. The body is divided into three registers with faceted panels, covered with fine, stylized vegetal motifs, which stand out in low relief. Traces of a black and red substance in some areas of the surface suggests that originally the lampstand was "colored," probably to enhance the surface texture.  Although undated, the shape and overall decoration of the lampstand relate to a number of other examples, including an almost identical one in Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (Inv. 5603), which is dated to 1588-89.

Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
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