Tilting At “Arabian” Lamps

The image of Aladdin’s lamp is so well established that the appearance of actual oil lamps of the medieval Levant might come as a surprise: they are made of clay, and shaped more like a gravy boat than a teapot.

Arab-Norman Lamp, 11th century, Salerno
Arab-Norman Lamp, 11th century, Salerno

I stumbled over this while helping an Østgarðrian prepare an armory registration featuring an Arabian lamp and wandered down a fascinating rabbit hole of web research.

(SCA heralds with OSCAR commenting privileges may enjoy reading the repeated efforts of Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme to guide people towards using the archeologically-attested form of the lamp here, here, here, here, and here — occasionally overheated, but still an interesting example of the “historical education” tendency within the SCA.)

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