7.1 Islamic lamps

The main types of lamps from the Islamic Period have some common features. They are large and pear shaped, sometimes referred to as “slipper shaped”. The nozzle usually bears a trench and the shoulders are covered with decorations (“horror vacui”), mainly floral and geometrical designs.


The first four types of lamps differ mainly in the shape of the handle. The first two types (IS.1-2) are earlier then the last two.

IS.1 Pear shaped lamps with a conical handle – This is the most common lamp in the Umayyad Period. They have a high rim surrounding the wick hole and continuing on the nozzle and around the filling hole. The rim creates a channel on the nozzle, which is decorated with dots, lines and in some cases geometric designs. The shoulders are decorated with geometric or floral designs or inscriptions. The lamps have a conical handle.

Date: from the eighth to the ninth cent. CE.


IS.2 Pear shaped lamps with a ‘tongue’ handle – These lamps are similar in shape to the previous type but have “tongue” handles. The nozzle has a deep trench, decorated with a large variety of designs. The shoulders are decorated with Geometric or floral designs, zoomorphic decorations or Arabic inscriptions in the Kufic script.

Two lamps in the collection are miniature lamps. Similar lamps were found in excavations and on some of them there are traces of soot, testifying that they were used.

Date: from the end of the eight or the beginning of the ninth to the eleventh cent CE.


IS.3 Elongated lamps with a short twisted handle – These lamps are characterized by their elongated shape and short twisted handle. The nozzle lacks a channel and instead there are three lines marking its place. The shoulders are wide and the filling hole is relatively small. The decorations on the shoulders include inscriptions, floral and geometrical designs. The handle is short and twisted above the lamp, without touching it.

These lamps were mainly found around Jerusalem, but also in other parts of Israel, such as Beit Shean, Atlit, and Ashdod

Date: twelfth to thirteenth cent CE.


IS.4 Elongated lamps with a long twisted handle – This type is similar to the previous type, except for the shape of the handle, which is longer and touches the lamps’ body. Only geometrical designs decorate these lamps.

These lamps were found throughout Israel and were common during the Mamluk Period.

Date: Second half of the thirteenth cent until the fourteenth cent. CE.

IS.5 Round lamps – These lamps are circular in shape with flat shoulders. The decorations of the shoulders include floral designs, inscriptions and symbols. The lamps have a ring base, which is usually decorated with a wheel design.

The only published lamps of this type, which claimed to be originated from Israel, are from collections. These lamps have some common features with the early Islamic lamps, mainly the shape of the handle and the base, and thus may be dated to this period.


7.2 Crusader Period lamps

In the Crusader period several types of lamps are found in Israel. In the catalog only one type is represented. This type is referred to as “saucer lampsor “beehive lamps”. The lamp is made from a wheel made bowl with another one situated upside down in the middle of it. The outer bowl is slightly pinched, where the wick was placed.  The inner bowl has a small hole opposite this point, for inserting the wick. The lamps are not decorated and have a loop handle.


This type is found throughout Israel and also in neighboring countries.


Date: tenth to eleventh cent. CE.