Glass lamp, enameled and gilded

Detail, Mosque lamp; F1957.19

Ready, Set, Glow!

Create your own glimmering glass lamp and see it shine.

Glass lamp, enameled and gilded
What is it made of?

Enameled and gilded glass

When was it made?

Around 1360

Where was it made?

Egypt

Learn more!

Inspiration

More than seven hundred years ago—long before lightbulbs—this colorful glass lamp hung alongside hundreds of others from the beams of an Egyptian mosque, Muslims’ place of worship. The beautiful writing in blue around the neck compares God to a lamp’s light.

Connecting to the Past

A glassmaker created the lamp by blowing and shaping liquid glass in a furnace. After it cooled, he decorated it with a paint-like substance called enamel. To make the color stick, the artist then attached the glass to a metal rod called a pontil and again inserted the lamp into the furnace. Watch artists make handblown glass through this process.

Try It Yourself

Now, it’s time to make your own colorful lamp! Kids, grab an adult to help you through the steps below. To ensure your safety, each step states who should take the lead (adult, kid, or both).

Time needed: 90 minutes
Ages: 8 and up (with an adult’s assistance)

Tools

  • Glass vase or glass candle votive
  • Soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Printed design template
  • Tape
  • Oil-based paint pens
  • Oven that can reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 12-inch ruler
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Wax-coated floating wick
  • Matches

Step One: Teamwork Time

  • Wash your glass vase or votive with warm water and soap. Dry thoroughly, and then wipe the surface with rubbing alcohol.
  • Print the design template. Tape a design to the inside of your vase or votive so that you can see the outline through the glass.

Step Two: Kids Take the Lead

  • Use oil-based paint pens to trace and fill in the design on the outside of your glassware.
  • Once the design is complete, remove the taped-on template, and ensure all the color is thoroughly filled in on the exterior.

Step Three: Adults Take the Lead

  • Place the painted glassware in a cool oven and turn the heat to 350 degrees. Allow the oven to heat the glassware gradually and bake on the design for twenty minutes.
  • Once twenty minutes have passed, turn the oven off. Do not remove the glassware until it cools completely.

Step Four: Teamwork Time

  • Your decorated glassware is now ready to become a lamp! Fill the glassware with water, leaving 1 inch of space at the top.
  • Pour ¼ inch of vegetable oil on top of the water.
  • Carefully place the floating wick in the oil. Make sure it is straight, not leaning to one side.

Step Five: Adults Take the Lead

  • Light the wick! You now have your own colorful lamp. Never leave a flame unattended.

 

 

 

 

Made possible with generous support from Aramco.

Matthew Lasnoski

Matthew Lasnoski is the Educator in Youth and Family Programs at the Freer|Sackler.

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