circa 1385 AD
transparent, bubbly glass, blown with trailed on handles; enamelled and gilt decoration; mounts of gilded base metal; the foot a modern replacement
33 x 25cm
During the Mamluk period, the various pious institutions founded by sultans and amirs brought a demand for elaborately enamelled and gilt glass lamps to light them. Suspended from their rims were beaker-like containers filled with oil.
The rim of this lamp bears an inscription from the surah al-Nur (XXIV), verse 35, ‘God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass’. This is broken by three roundels with the heraldic blazon of Sultan Barquq, the Circassian usurper of the Bahri Mamluk dynasty in 784 AH (1382 AD), in the form of an inscription, ‘izz li-mawlana al-sultan al-Malik al-Zahir (‘Glory to our lord the Sultan al-Malik al-Zahir’). The body bears a slightly more elaborate version of the same inscription in bold thulth script, ‘izz li-mawlana al-sultan al-Malik al-Zahir Abu Sa‘id nasarahu Allah (‘Glory to our lord the Sultan al-Malik al-Zahir Abu Sa‘id, may God bring him victory’ [or ‘may God grant him succor’]).
S.M. Goldstein et al, Glass. From Sasanian Antecedents to European Imitations, The Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XV, London 2005, cat.311, pp.286–7. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.241, pp.200–01.