Tile with split-palmettes and floral vines in cobalt blue and turquoise - 961x167.9_1

961x167.9_1

Tile with split-palmettes and floral vines in cobalt blue and turquoise

Medium:Ceramic (stonepaste) with underglaze-painted designs
Geography: Damascus, Syria
Date: 1575-1625
Period: Ottoman period
Dimensions:
32.3 x 32.3 x 3.5 cm
Object number: 961X167.9
Not on view
Description

While the main production centre of Ottoman tiles continued to be the city of Iznik in Turkey in the 16th century, local workshops were set up in Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, Diyarbakir in Anatolia and elsewhere. Fine pottery and tiles were made in Syria during the 12th - mid 15th centuries, but the industry went into decline after that until the Ottoman conquest in 1517. Damascus became a major provincial city of the Empire, but the refurbishment of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520-66) commissioned in the 1550s, provided the catalyst for the Syrian tile industry. It is thought that once they had finished their work in Jerusalem, the tilemakers moved to Syria to cater to the booming construction projects there.

This square, ceramic stonepaste tile, with painted decoration in blue (cobalt), turquoise (copper) and black (chromium) on a white ground under a transparent glaze, has a pattern (possibly stencilled) of entwining split-palmettes and floral vines that expands geometrically from a central rosette. The design on this tile relates to the Ottoman tiles made for the refurbishiment of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. While Syrian tiles echo the patterns on their Iznik counterparts, they are distinguished by the delicate use of cobalt blue, turquoise and varying shades of green (using copper pigments), from light apple-green to a dark olive tone, which enhanced the freshness and originality of their designs.

Collection:
Islamic World
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