Ceramic Lantern

Object Name: Lantern

Date: early 13th century

Geography: Attributed to Syria, probably Raqqa

Medium: Stonepaste; underglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on transparent glaze

Dimensions: H. 9 1/8 in. (23.2 cm)
W. 5 3/4in. (14.6cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Tiles

Credit Line: Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891

Accession Number: 91.1.138


This rare object, a lantern in the shape of a domed square building suspended by means of chains, fits well in the production of vessels decorated in dark brown luster and blue highlights at Raqqa, Syria, during the Ayyubid period. Colorless and colored glass originally filled the two sides presenting lobed rosettes, whereas the other two sides have openings in the shape of trilobed arches. With its hemispherical dome and decorative finials at the four upper corners, the lantern's structure suggests a tomb or mausoleum, thus pointing to a religious or votive function. In the absence of inscriptions that might confirm its significance, however, it may have equally served a secular function.