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Rare, Pierced Silver Hanging Monastic Lamp with an Arabic Christian Inscription
Ottoman Turkey
17th century

length of lamp: 18cm, length with chains (approx.): 59cm, total weight: 288g

This fine lamp dates to the 17th century based on a very similar example that is inscribed and in a museum in Turkey. It is likely from Turkey or the broader
Ottoman empire, perhaps the Balkan region.

It has a fine, pierced baluster-form base, decorated with panels of flowers and scrolls. The lamp is supported on three silver chains which attach to the lamp by
means of three winged angel heads or seraphims.

The three chains are suspended from a small domed and engraved silver cap which is surmounted by a silver ring for hanging.

The lamp is inscribed all the way around the rim in Arabic with the dedication:

yarb min lah taabba hdha alqndil
waqf kanisah almalak mykha'yl kulfatuh batwl awwad

يارب من له تعب هذا القنديل
وقف كنيسه الملاك ميخاءيل كلفته بتول عوض   

which has been translated thus:

'For you oh Lord, ("I") offer this lamp as endowment (or
saddaqa) for the Church of Archangel Michael commissioned by Batool Awad' (or the pious maiden

Such an inscription - an overtly Christian dedication but written in Arabic - is rare.

An almost identical lamp is in the Mevlana Museum, in Konya, Turkey. The museum is part of the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian  Sufi
mystic also known as Mevlana or Rumi. The complex also served as the dervish lodge (
tekke) of the Mevlevi order, better known as the whirling dervishes.
(See the museum's lamp
here - scroll down to item number 24.)

Thank you to Juan Alvarez de Lara Sieder of London for his excellent assistance with the Arabic translation, and with other research assistance associated
with this piece.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 4048 SOLD

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