What is it made of? Enameled and gilded glass
When was it made? Around 1360
Where was it made? Egypt
More than seven hundred years ago—long before light bulbs—this colorful glass lamp, along with many others, hung from the ceiling of an Egyptian mosque, a place of worship for Muslims. The beautiful writing on the neck compares God to the light in a lamp.
Between sections of writing, three round medallions identify the person who ordered this lamp to be made. His name was Sultan Hasan, a powerful ruler of Egypt who built many mosques and other buildings and ordered lamps to light the structures.
A glass maker made this lamp by blowing and shaping liquid glass in a furnace. After it cooled, he decorated it with a paint-like substance called “enamel.” To make the color stick, the artist then attached the glass to a metal rod called a “pontil” and inserted the lamp back into the furnace. Watch artisans make hand blown glass in a video to better visualize this process.
This lamp hung near many others just like it, making the mosque glow and sparkle. Look up at the ceiling of the room you are in and imagine dozens of these lamps dangling above you, flickering with light. Share out loud how that would change the feeling of the space around you.
Ready, set, glow! Make a lamp from recycled objects. Decorate the outside of a glass jar with tissue paper, paint, and glue to make a colorful candleholder, or use a hammer and nails (with an adult’s help) to poke a pattern of holes in a plastic bottle. Drop a battery-powered light inside to see it shine!