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Lamp For The Mausoleum Of Amir Aidakin al-‘Ala’i Al-Bunduqdar

This lamp features a semi-spherical body . . .


with a low foot . . .


and a wide opening.


The inscription on the body, which has been left unpainted, would have glowed when the lamp was lit.


In addition to the calligraphic text, a pair of confronted bows set against a red circular ground appears nine times.

This lamp provides insight into the court life of thirteenth-century Egypt. An inscription indicates the lamp was commissioned for the tomb of a high-ranking Mamluk officer who held the title “Keeper of the [Sultan's] Bow”; the blazon, or coat of arms, on this lamp features a crossbow, the symbol of his office.

This flat-sided bottle on top of the juxtaposition is called a pilgrim flask. It is an example of a vessel produced in Venice after Islamic models, and reflects the transmission of artistic forms and techniques through trade. The scrolling floral elements, which form a medallion surrounded by a double pearl border, are evocative of motifs seen on gilded and painted glass from Syria and Egypt. The technique of enameled glass was highly prized by Venetian collectors. Responding to local demand, Venetian craftsmen imitated the forms and motifs of the foreign works of art. Below is an activity that allows one to see the lamp made in Egypt in juxtoposition to the pillgrim flask made in Venice. Slide the top image up and down to see how closely alike they both are.