Name of Object:

Candlestick with dragons


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Hegira 8th–9th centuries / AD 14th –15th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast brass.


Height 22.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Beylik (Emirates) or Early Ottoman period


A candlestick in three parts, with a six-sided candle cup in the centre of four dragons whose tails end in splayed feet. The four dragons are joined at the point where the candlestick's three parts come together. Their mouths are open and their teeth have been coloured with red paint. Their bodies are curved, their lower parts take the form of palmettes, and their feet have been stylised into splayed 'camel's' feet. The dragons have pointed ears, almond-shaped eyes, and their bodies are covered with a design resembling snakes' scales; they are poised as if to bite the candle cup. The candle cup has six sides whose surfaces are decorated with arabesque palmettes.

View Short Description

This candlestick is dated to the Emirates period (AH 8th–9th / AD 14th–15thcenturies) based on its decoration and stylistic features. Dragon motifs are quite common in Anatolian Seljuq figurative decoration and are used as symbols of light, power and might in Islamic art.

How date and origin were established:

The candlestick is dated by its style and decoration to the 8th–9th / 14th –15th centuries.

How Object was obtained:

Presented to the Museum in 1985 by Sebahattin Konakçı.

Selected bibliography:

ölçer, N. et al, Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi, Istanbul, 2002, p.170.

Roxburgh, D. J. (ed), Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600–1600, London, 2005, p.396.

Citation of this web page:

Alev Özay "Candlestick with dragons" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;tr;Mus01;15;en

Prepared by: Alev ÖzayAlev Özay

Alev Özay is an expert at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. She was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1942. She graduated from the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. She first worked at the museums of Tekirdağ and Kayseri. She attended Ottoman language courses in 1976–7 and restoration and conservation courses in 1982 organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. She published an article on the “Turbe of Sultan Ahmet” in 1979 and in 1983 prepared the catalogue for the Exhibition on Islamic Arts in the 15th Century of the Hijra.

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: TR 30


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

Figurative Art | Animal Representation

MWNF Galleries



As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)