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Moser Mosque Lamps, circa 1897

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Art Glass15184 of 17587Pairpoint Garden of Allah LampDAUM FRANCE CRYSTAL FREE FORM ART GLASS CENTERPIECE
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Posted 5 years ago


(470 items)

Soon after the erection of the Moser firm's own glassworks in 1893, Moser, along with other leading glass producers such as Loetz in Klášterský Mlýn and Fritz Heckert in Petersdorf, responded to the surge in interest in imitations of glass from ancient excavations. Moser produced matte iridescent vessels enameled with Egyptian figurals and hieroglyphs, and a few years later a series of vessels with Arabic styled inscriptions. These two examples of mosque lamps are on matte crackled iridescent glass, ornately covered (even on the bottom!) with characters in the Islamic style. (I don't believe these represent actual characters, but are meant to imitate).

Mosque lamps originated in the 13th and 14th centuries in Egypt and Syria and they are oil lamps. They usually have a foot so that they can be placed on a flat surface, but they are more normally hung from chains that went through the loops on the outer body of the lamps. They were used to light mosques and other buildings in mosque complexes, in large spaces in groups hanging from a circular metal frame. (this would explain why they are decorated on the bottom - these are functional pieces).

The beautiful piece in the first photo was acquired from the collection of Alfredo Villanueva in a colossal trade. :) The green one was acquired in an online auction. Both are marked inside the neck with Moser production and decor numbers. The last photo is of the real thing - I took this photo of a 14th century mosque lamp at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. (part of the Smithsonian). Dating to about 1350, these typically were decorated with the name of the Sultan and their calligraphic emblem, along with the Koranic "Verse of Light".

Moser 1857-1997 (published by the factory)
Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C.


  1. cogito cogito, 5 years ago
    Really, nice Warren. I was at the Freer Gallery last Fall and saw the lamp above. Their islamic and asian sections are amazing, but best of all is the Whistler designed "Peacock Room!" I believe they had to mop up my drool off the floor after I left.
  2. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 5 years ago
    Jeff, I have several albums of photos from the Freer and Sackler galleries on my facebook page. It's amazing to me that such a collection is free to visit, and they allow photography. I waited in the peacock room for about 25 minutes for it to clear out so I could set up a series of HDR shots with a tripod. It is a gorgeous room.
  3. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Fabulous! But I believe you are right about the "Arabic". Mosque lamps would (probably) be in Arabic, rather than other languages - the language of the Koran. I don't speak (much) Arabic, or write it, but I lived in Saudi Arabia for 4 years as a child and recognise the characters pretty well. Shapes, orientation of shapes and execution are all wrong. There's the odd number in there that's almost right, but that's about it! Still fabulous, regardless.
  4. inky inky, 5 years ago
    Simply stunning!.....:-)

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