Afghan lamps

The first Islamic oil lamps of Afghanistan

By the 10th century AD, specific lamps started to come into use with Afghan highland tribes, all of whom were Islamic. These Afghan oil lamps are generally made of stone and exist in different shapes and forms which may vary from one valley to another.

The lamps of the Swat people

The Swat people live in Nuristan in the highlands of the Hindu Kush, which is an area spanning parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Oil lamps of that region are made of hardwood and are, in part, turned on mechanical lathes. These are the only known oil lamps made of wood (aside from some originating from Nepalese temples). Many of them show chiseled geometric designs.

The lamps of Istalif

Shown here to close the presentation of Islamic oil lamps from the Afghan valleys, is a beautiful pair of examples, made of terracotta and glazed in blue, with a high base. They are from the province of Istalif in the Shomali plain north of Kabul, which has always been widely renowned for its pottery.