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Mosque lamp

Mosque lamp

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (city), Italy (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1550-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear colourless glass, blown, with traces of original adhesive for gilding

  • Museum number:

    332-1900

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval and Renaissance, room 63, case 9

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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.

Physical description

Clear colourless glass lamp with four molded handles.

Place of Origin

Venice (city), Italy (probably, made)

Date

1550-1600 (made)

Artist/maker

unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Clear colourless glass, blown, with traces of original adhesive for gilding

Dimensions

Height: 23.7 cm, Diameter: 18.1 cm greatest width, Weight: 0.68 kg

Object history note

This lamp was purchased in 1900 from a collection formed largely in Cairo, Egypt.

Historical context note

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.

Descriptive line

Mosque lamp of colourless glass with traces of cold (un-fired) decoaration, possibly Italy (Venice), 1550-1600

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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
Our lamp discussed

Labels and date

Made for export to the Near East. Purchased in 1900 from a collection formed largely in Cairo, Egypt.

Production Note

date: 'possibly'

Categories

Islam; Glass; Lighting

Collection code

CER

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Qr_O821
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