Investigation of an enameled glass mosque lamp: A 13th-14th-century mamluk example or 19th-century european version?

Johanna Salvant, Victoria Schussler, Caitlin McKenna, Lisa Bruno, Monica Ganio, Marc Walton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: In this study, an enameled glass mosque lamp in the Brooklyn Museum collection is investigated to elucidate the origin and date of production of each of its components-the body, handles, wick-holder, and foot-to establish whether the lamp was produced during the Mamluk period (13th-14th century) or is a 19th-century European creation. Results: Using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS), the body, handles, and wick-holder were found to exhibit identical composition. The lamp's foot, however, presents a dissimilar composition, one significantly richer in sodium, magnesium, and potassium. The matrix compositions, colorants, and opacifiers of the body's enamel decorations were characterized by SEM-EDS and Raman spectroscopy analyses and compared with Mamluk and 19th-century production. Conclusions: The lamp's body, handles, and wick-holder were produced using the same type of glass, one likely incorporating a plant ash flux typical of medieval Islamic glass. Materials composing the body's enamel decorations are consistent with Mamluk production. The foot's distinct composition indicates that it is a later addition to the object. Combining the analytical, stylistic, and historical evidences, this glass lamp can now be identified as a Mamluk example, one of few comprising an integral wick-holder. The presence of a wick-holder is discussed and connected to the small size of the lamp. Details informing understanding of the lamp's manufacture are also included. The implications of these new findings on the object's conservation treatment and display are discussed in the context of the upcoming reinstallation of the Arts of the Islamic World gallery at the Brooklyn Museum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalHeritage Science
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Enamel
  • Islamic glass
  • Mamluk
  • Mosque lamp
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • SEM-EDS
  • XRF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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