Lamps such as this were produced as multiples for the many great monuments erected in fourteenth-century AD Cairo under Mamluk patronage. The Arabic text on the lower section of this lamp indicates that it was made on the order of the Amir Shaykhu, probably either for his mosque or his khanqah, which still survive. Typically, it is inscribed on the neck with the beginning of a well-known verse of the Qur’an, the Ayat al-Nur (Verse of the Light; 24:35); these words serve as a reminder or cue to the sentences that follow. Since these lamps were suspended from the ceiling, their inscriptions probably were not easily legible, nor was their intrinsic meaning fully activated except on those special occasions, as during the month of Ramadan, when they were lit and could be viewed from below or from a distance through the windows of the building.More...
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