A 13th century Mamluk Glass Mosque Lamp or a 19th century European imitation? (2014-2015)

X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy Mosque Lamp

NU-ACCESS is investigating the origin and production of an enamel mosque lamp in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.The lamp has a flared neck, a globular body, six suspensions loops at its shoulder, and a splayed foot that has been attached to the body. All of these components were made from clear blown glass decorated with multicolored enamels and gilding. Enameled glass mosque lamps were originally produced in Egypt and greater Syria during the Ayyubid (c. 1171-1260 CE) and Mamluk (c. 1250-1517 CE) periods. However, this style of lamp was also reproduced in the 19th century to satisfy European collectors’ new tastes for “Islamic” art. This lamp from the Brooklyn Museum collection presents an interesting case study since scholars of Islamic art have suggested it has formal characteristics that could support either a Medieval or 19thcentury attribution. In this project, we use a combination of analytical techniques, including in-situ X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF), Raman spectroscopy, and Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) to characterize the materials, their microstructure, and composition. From these data we assess the manufacturing sequence of the different parts composing the glass mosque lamp and suggest a period for its production

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