Mosque Lamp

Object Name: Mosque lamp

Date: late 16th century

Geography: Made in Turkey, Iznik

Medium: Stonepaste; painted and glazed

Dimensions: H. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm)
Diam. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913

Accession Number: 14.40.731


The mosque lamp shown here is a fine example of Iznik ceramic production in the late sixteenth century, characterized by a palette of brilliant emerald, vibrant blue, and "sealing wax" red, which is applied in relief. The elegant shape echoes that of metal lanterns of the period. Stylized peony blossoms enclosed in scrolling saz leaves in blue with red accents cover the neck of the lantern. The lip is accentuated with a band of half plum flowers, while a narrow chainlike band in red makes the transition between the body and the neck. The design on the body consists of saz motifs in blue framed by intertwining saz designs in red.
Mosque lamps such this were probably not used for lighting but suspended from chains in tombs and mosques. They served to enhance the aesthetic quality and acoustic capabilities of these interiors.