A MAMLUK-STYLE ENAMELLED AND GILDED CLEAR GLASS MOSQUE LAMP
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A MAMLUK-STYLE ENAMELLED AND GILDED CLEAR GLASS MOSQUE LAMP

PROBABLY FRANCE, SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY

Details
A MAMLUK-STYLE ENAMELLED AND GILDED CLEAR GLASS MOSQUE LAMP
Probably France, second half 19th Century
Of typical form, the angled rounded body with high flaring conical mouth on spreading trumpet foot, three applied loop handles around the body, the body with a band of blue thuluth calligraphy against a polychrome scrolling leafy ground, a band of triangular interlace panels above alternating with blue lotus roundels on a gilt floral ground, the underside with cusped arched panels containing roundels with the cup-bearer's blazon on a yellow washed ground, the spandrels with interlaced polychrome arabesques, the mouth with a thuluth inscription on scrolling vine reserved against a blue ground, interrupted by three roundels containing the cup-bearer's blazon, bands of finely drawn red and gilt floral and bird motifs above and below, the foot with polychrome arabesque panels on a gilt and red floral ground, (gilding slightly rubbed)
15¾ in. (40.2 cm.) high
Provenance
As lot 1.
Rothschild inv. no(s). not known.
Literature
C. J. Lamm, Mittelalterliche Gläser und Steinschnittarbeiten aus dem Nahen Osten, Berlin, 1929-30, Vol. I, p. 438, no. 40, not illustrated.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

The inscription around the body, including errors, reads:
jimma 'umila bi-[r]asm al-maqarr al-'ali al-mawlawi al-maaliki al-majd al-saifi Qusun al-Saqi al-maliki al-nasiri al-jam[ali] (that which was made for his highness the lordly, the kingly, the majestic, he who bears the sword, Qusun the cupbearer of al-Malik al-Nasir
That around the mouth is from the Qur'an, sura xxiv, v.25.

This lamp is a near copy of the lamp in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, formerly in the Mannheim and Pierpont Morgan Collections (G. Schmoranz, Old oriental gilt and enamelled glass vessels, London, 1899, pp. 66-7, figs. 66-8, and pl. XXXIV). The decorative repertoire is identical including the inscription; the main difference is that the original has six handles in contrast to the three seen here. The New York lamp is also very rare in being signed (by the poor slave Ali b. Muhammad al-Ramaki, may god protect him). Schmoranz notes, when reproducing a detail rather than an overall view of the lamp, 'the filigree and flower work is rarely seen so carefully outlined; and thus the detailed plate is very instructive as to the character of the decoration'. The present lamp has managed to keep to that character admirably.

The drawing of the birds in this lamp is particularly close to that of the original. This is a feature which is extremely rare on mosque lamps, although it is also found, less accurately drawn, around the mouth of a lamp made for another of the more important emirs under Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad, Toquztimur, which is now in the British Museum (D. Talbot Rice, Islamic Art, London, ca. 1965, pl. 135). The use of figural designs anywhere in a mosque in Mamluk Egypt is almost never encountered. This feature obviously interested the manufacturer of this lamp. The same feature is found on the body and mouth of the manganese glass lamp also in this collection. The obvious similarities make one wonder if they, and also the blue lamp, were not produced in the same workshop. This is most likely to have been in Paris, since the glassworkers must have had access to the Mannheim Collection lamp to copy.

Two other lamps are known in the name of the Emir Qusun. One formerly in the Gérôme Collection, is mentioned by Schmoranz (op,.cit., p. 69, also published by M. van Berchem, 'Matériaux pour un Corpus inscriptionun Arabicum, Egypt', in Mémoires de la mission archéologique française au Caire, 1894-5, Vol. XIX, p. 179, no. 2); the other is a 19th Century copy by Brocard, in the Islamic Museum, Cairo (R. L. Devonshire, Quelques influences islamiques sur les arts de l'Europe, Cairo, 1929, pl. 41).
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