Elegantly enameled glass lamps were commissioned by sultans and members of court for use in mosques, madrasas (Qur’anic schools), and other public places. Hung from ceilings by chains that attached to loops on the body, their illumination symbolized divine light and the presence of God. Recent research suggests that this lamp was made in Syria by Persian artists and then brought to Egypt, where it was installed in a Cairo mosque. An inscription on the neck reads, “The lamp belongs to the Mosque, and the Mosque to God, the Light of Heaven and Earth.”
Formerly part of the famous Charles A. Dana Collection, the lamp was purchased in an 1898 auction by Islamic antiquities dealer Dikran Kelekian. Kelekian, in 1903, sold a number of items that likely included the lamp to the prominent design firm of Cottier & Company. That same year, Henry Clay Frick hired Cottier to renovate the interior of Clayton, his Pittsburgh home. Frick likely acquired this lamp at that time—a 1903 Cottier receipt lists a similar lamp intended for display in Clayton. The lamp also appears in photographs taken at Eagle Rock, the family’s summer home in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts.