Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bird-shaped oil lamp

Object Name:
Oil lamp
late 12th–early 13th century
Attributed to Iran, Khurasan
Bronze; cast, engraved, inlaid with silver and copper
H. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
W. 11 13/16 in. (30 cm)
L. 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts and Harvey and Elizabeth Plotnick Gifts, 2001
Accession Number:
Not on view
The bird‑headed handle of this lamp was cast separately from its three‑spouted body. Oil was poured into the lamp through the large opening, once covered with a lid, as indicated by the surviving hinge. A tab on the base and keyholes on the body demonstrate that the lamp could either rest on a stand or hang from a chain. The inscription conveys good wishes, and the absence of a dedication suggests that the piece was made for the market rather than as a private commission.
Inscription: [Francesca Leoni, fellow: 04-15-08]:
"Glory, longevity, power, and glory to its owner."

In naskhi script:
العز و الاقبال و الد/ العز لصاحبه

[ Sam Fogg, London, until 2001; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rumi," October 15, 2007–March 5, 2008, no catalogue.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 60, no. 2 (2001–2002). p. 10, ill. (color).

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