This object is a Gateway object. Gateway objects are significant artefacts in the collection and are used to represent and introduce bigger subjects and themes.


Mosque-lamp, made of stonepaste painted in blue, green and black under a transparent glaze; the lamp has a pyriform body with three applied ear-shaped handles and a moulding at the juncture with the trumpet neck, on a spreading profiled foot; it is painted in tones of cobalt blue and grey-green outlined in black with chinoiserie cloud bands alternating with small arabesque knots between pointed green-ground half-cartouches filled with black scrollwork; a similar design is repeated on the neck; inscription bands of differing width feature on the upper and lower body and below the rim: the thuluth script is reserved on a brushed ground of vivid cobalt blue with grey-green infills and tiny scattered rosettes; a Naskh inscription with the date AH 956 appears in a series of cusped oblong cartouches around the foot; a narrow band of small tulip buds in reserve panels on the moulding at the neck; the one extant handle with green scales between scrolled blue strokes. The lamp has an open base.

Object type:


Museum number:





Ottoman dynasty


1549 (AH 956)

Production place:

Made in: Iznik




glazed, painted


Height: 38.00 cm Diameter: 22.80 cm Diameter: 15.00 cm (foot)



Exhibition history:

Exhibited: 2000 12 Jun-17 Sept, St Petersburg, The Hermitage 'In the name of the beneficent and merciful' 1999-2000 15 Dec-24 Apr, Amsterdam, De Nieuwe Kerk Museum, 'In the name of the beneficent and merciful'

Acquisition names:

Donated by: Charles Drury Edward Fortnum

Acquisition date:


Curator's comments:

Made for the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Inscribed with a Hadith (saying) of the Prophet Muhammad comparing the believer in the mosque to a fish in water and a non-believer in the mosque to a bird in a cage. Published as OA18 in a British Museum slide set entitled 'The Turkish Pottery of Iznik' and with a commentary by R. H. Pinder-Wilson (London 1975).


Judaism, Christianity and Islam trace their spiritual origins to Abraham, whom they consider the first monotheist. These faiths share aspects of belief, including the concepts of one creator and guidance from divine scripture, and practices such as prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. They all regard Jerusalem as sacred. In Islam, Jerusalem is revered with the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Muslims believe it is the site where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens on his mi‘raj or miraculous night journey. The Dome of the Rock, completed in 691, has come to be associated with this event. This mosque lamp, connected to renovations of the monument ordered by the Ottoman sultan Suleyman (r. 1520–1566), is inscribed with a hadith (saying) of the Prophet comparing the believer in the mosque to a fish in water and a non-believer to a bird in a cage. Iznik, Turkey, 956 AH (AD 1549), signed by the potter Musli and dedicated to the mystic Eşrefzade Rumi (d. 1469) Donated by Charles Drury Edward Fortnum.