Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide Arts of the Islamic World
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Throughout the Islamic world, mosques and other religious structures were frequently illuminated with oil lamps suspended from the rafters or ceiling. During the fourteenth century, hundreds of such lamps were commissioned by the powerful Mamluk ruler and patron of the arts, Sultan Hasan (reigned 1344–51 and 1354–61), for his vast religious complex in Cairo. These mosque lamps were elaborately decorated with paint, gilt, and enamel, and often included the sultan's name as symbolic representations of a specific Koranic verse (sura 24, verse 35), known as the Light verse, which encircles the tall neck of this lamp:
    "God is the light of heaven and earth. His light is like a niche in which is a lamp."

Mosque lamp
Egypt, circa 1360
Glass with enamel and gilt
33.6 x 30.5 cm
Purchase F1957.19


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