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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection Consignment : Bronze oil Lamp and stand.
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Bronze oil Lamp and stand. - JB.1078
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 13 th Century AD
Dimensions: 17.5" (44.5cm) high x 8.66" (22.0cm) wide
Collection: Islamic
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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The idea of Central Asia as a distinct region is a fairly modern concept which materialised, in paper, only in 1843 when the famous geographer Alexander von Homboldt published in Paris a three-volumed work in which he treated Central Asia as a separate region on account of its interior drainage system and surrounding mountain chains. During pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was a region that today corresponds to Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The political panorama of Central Asia was defined by great power transfers and power was divided between several semi- autonomous states. Territorial expansion and a constantly growing trade brought Muslim lands into contact with other cultures, influencing the arts and the evolution of distinct artistic regional vocabularies. In technique, as well as, in form and decoration, early Islamic lamps perpetuate the earlier Byzantine tradition. The geometric registers were also appropriated from Late Antique and Byzantine prototypes. The roundels and the rappresentation of animals mimic Sassanian metalwork. Elements of Persian architecture – the arch and vault – can also be seen at the base. Calligraphy was considered the noblest of visual art forms lending to a desire to ornament everyday objects with inscriptions. Here, the abstraction of the characters to an unintelligible level favours a tendency for abstraction that serves both an aesthetic and practical purpose in the filling of space. decoration consists of pseudo-Kufic inscriptions over whole, decorative and zoomorphic roundel, registers and geometric bands. In a culture where men and women sat on the floor, lamps had to be raised above floor level to be effective. Lampstand with engraved decoration, composted of base, shaft and collared top tray. Six-lobed rosette-shaped base with zoomorphic terminals, resting on three paw-shaped feet; shaft composed of four baluster-shaped elements; top round tray with low side walls and slanting, decorated by epigraphic cartouches interrupted by roundels. Lamp with splayed polygonal foot; ring handle with bird on topl. The figure of a bird is also used as handle for the lid. In a culture where men and women sat on the ground, lamps had to be raised above floor level to be effective. This oil-lamp would have taken its place amongst an impressive retinue of everyday objects, likely within a private residence, given the prohibition of figural art in Mosques. The lamp would have been filled with oil – fish, animal or olive- through the covered pouring hole on the top and a woven, fibrous wick would have been placed past the hole of the nozzle and lit to burn through the oil. Khorasan 12th-13th century. - (JB.1078)


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