Mosque Lamp thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 63, The Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

Mosque Lamp

1550-1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Venetian enamelled and gilt glass was a luxury product exported all over Italy and beyond. The glassmakers of Venice had an excellent and wide spread reputation for high-quality colourless glass and fine workmanship in gilding and enamelling.

Syrian and Egyptian enamelled glass was imported into Italy as a luxury product from at least the thirteenth century onwards, but by the mid fifteenth century the quality of Venetian glass was superior and the situation had reversed. Mosque lamps were produced in large quantities by the glassmakers of Egypt and Syria during the fourteenth century, but by the fifteenth century, local production of high quality glass has all but died out. Even mosque lamps had to be imported. In 1569, Grand Vizier Sokullu Mehmed Pacha in Istanbul, placed an order for nine hundred Venetian glass lamps. The accompanying drawings are still kept in the Venetian State Archive.
Our mosque lamp has traces of 'cold' (unfired) gilding and it is very well possible, that it was exported from Murano to Egypt as a blank, to be decorated by local craftsmen.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Clear colourless glass, blown, with traces of original adhesive for gilding
Brief Description
Mosque lamp of colourless glass with traces of cold (un-fired) decoaration, possibly Italy (Venice), 1550-1600
Physical Description
Clear colourless glass lamp with four molded handles.
Dimensions
  • Height: 23.7cm
  • Greatest width diameter: 18.1cm
  • Weight: 0.68kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Style
Gallery Label
Made for export to the Near East. Purchased in 1900 from a collection formed largely in Cairo, Egypt.
Object history
This lamp was purchased in 1900 from a collection formed largely in Cairo, Egypt.
Historical context
Venetian enamelled and gilt glass was a luxury product exported all over Italy and beyond. The glassmakers of Venice had an excellent and wide spread reputation for high-quality colourless glass and fine workmanship in gilding and enamelling.



Syrian and Egyptian enamelled glass was imported into Italy as a luxury product from at least the thirteenth century onwards, but by the mid fifteenth century the quality of Venetian glass was superior and the situation had reversed. Mosque lamps were produced in large quantities by the glassmakers of Egypt and Syria during the fourteenth century, but by the fifteenth century, local production of high quality glass has all but died out. Even mosque lamps had to be imported. In 1569, Grand Vizier Sokullu Mehmed Pacha in Istanbul, placed an order for nine hundred Venetian glass lamps. The accompanying drawings are still kept in the Venetian State Archive.

Our mosque lamp has traces of 'cold' (unfired) gilding and it is very well possible, that it was exported from Murano to Egypt as a blank, to be decorated by local craftsmen.
Production
date: 'possibly'
Summary
Venetian enamelled and gilt glass was a luxury product exported all over Italy and beyond. The glassmakers of Venice had an excellent and wide spread reputation for high-quality colourless glass and fine workmanship in gilding and enamelling.



Syrian and Egyptian enamelled glass was imported into Italy as a luxury product from at least the thirteenth century onwards, but by the mid fifteenth century the quality of Venetian glass was superior and the situation had reversed. Mosque lamps were produced in large quantities by the glassmakers of Egypt and Syria during the fourteenth century, but by the fifteenth century, local production of high quality glass has all but died out. Even mosque lamps had to be imported. In 1569, Grand Vizier Sokullu Mehmed Pacha in Istanbul, placed an order for nine hundred Venetian glass lamps. The accompanying drawings are still kept in the Venetian State Archive.

Our mosque lamp has traces of 'cold' (unfired) gilding and it is very well possible, that it was exported from Murano to Egypt as a blank, to be decorated by local craftsmen.
Bibliographic References
  • R. Ruckert, Venezianische Moscheeampeln in Istanbul, Sonderdruck aus der Festschrift fur Harald Keller, Darmstadt 1963, pp. 223-234
  • Venise et l'Orient: 828-1797; exh catalogue Paris, (l'Institut du monde arabe), New York (Metropolitan Museum), Paris 2006, pp. 257-274, and cat. 162
Collection
Accession Number
332-1900

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record createdDecember 13, 1997
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