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Tile with stylised tulips

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Tile with stylised tulips

Medium:Ceramic (stonepaste) with underglaze-painted designs
Geography: Iznik, Turkey
Date: 1550-1700 AD
Period: Ottoman period
Dimensions:
34.3 x 33 x 1.8 cm
Object number: 961X167.32
Not on view
Description

Iznik, a town southeast of Istanbul, was the main centre of Ottoman ceramic production. Until the mid-1550s, Ottoman production of tiles was limited and the ceramic workshops at Iznik largely concentrated on vessels. A major change took place as a result of the commission of tiles for the Süleymaniye, the mosque complex built by Süleyman the Magnificent's (r. 1520-66) architect, Sinan (d. 1588), inaugurated in 1557. Tiles on buildings were initially placed modestly over doorways or windows, or highlighting a mihrab (prayer niche) in a mosque. As the fashion developed, however, they soon covered entire walls and the use of tiles became a hallmark of Ottoman architecture all over the empire, from Istanbul and Aleppo to Sarajevo.

This square, ceramic stonepaste tile, with painted decoration in cobalt blue, turquoise, red and green pigments under a transparent glaze, was once part of a larger panel of wall tiles. The main design, outlined in chromium black, features two stylised tulips, each with a central heart-shaped medallion enclosing an arabesque motif in reserve on a green and red background. Small flowers painted in reserve with red centres decorated the tulips' pointed petals. The tulips are surrounded by turquoise-painted strapwork and stylised blue palmette leaves. A third half tulip is filled in with scrolling palmettes and small flowers painted in reserve with red dots.

Collection:
Islamic World
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