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Iznik and Ottoman Ceramics

In the latter half of the fifteenth century, following the Fall of Constantinople and the establishment of the Ottoman Court in the former capital of the Byzantine Empire, many areas of artistic production enjoyed a renewal of forms. These changes reflected the fuller involvement of a court whose patronage was particularly evident in book arts and in the textile industry. This courtly demand also seems to have given rise towards the end of the reign of Mehmet II to the production of ceramic wares of great technical perfection, designed for a new elite eager for luxury objects. This production of high-quality ceramics was to endure in the sixteenth century, before the onset of a period of progressive decline throughout the seventeenth century.

Dish with tugrakes spiral style decoration

Dish with tugrakes spiral style decoration. Turkey, “Iznik”, 1530-40 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a siliceous slip coating. The fine volutes that characterize this dish are directly inspired by the scrolls that from the 1520s onward adorned the imperial monograms (tugra) of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-66). The task of executing the tugra was allotted to a specialist craftsman, the “tugrakes”, whence the name “tugrakes spiral style” given by N. Atasoy and J. Raby to the group of ceramic wares of which it forms part. On ceramic wares in this group fine stems spiral or form undulating scrolls bearing tiny floral motifs and minute hook- or “s”-shaped commas. This rigorous decoration is generally painted in cobalt blue, sometimes enlivened with small blue and turquoise rumi arabesque medallions. The inscriptions running around the base and the neck ring indicate that the bottle was commissioned by an Armenian bishop, Ter Martinos, for a monument in Kütahya and that it was produced there. G. Necipoglu has however recently put forward the hypothesis that this production, which would seem to have enjoyed a certain degree of popularity and which has been found in various excavation contexts, could equally have been made in Istanbul, concurrently with Iznik and Kütahya.

These high-quality ceramic wares, referred to as çini in Ottoman documents, were intended for the domestic market of the Ottoman Empire, but were also soon exported outside of the Empire, to Italy in particular, where the exported wares would give rise to local imitations. Though Iznik was the main centre of production, such ceramic wares were also produced in the city of Kütahya, as is borne out by finds from excavations carried out there. Istanbul may also have been the site of sporadic productions directly linked to commissions from the court.

An innovative technology

These new Iznik ceramic wares had a stonepaste body, whose plumbiferous nature and high percentage of frit (a vitreous substance) set them apart from earlier stonepaste pottery produced in the Islamic world. According to the latest analyses, the composition of the stonepaste of Iznik ceramics was as follows: 65 to 75 % quartz; 15 to 18% frit rich in lead and lime; 3 to 4 % highly plumbiferous frit; only 8 to 13 % non-calcareous clay with a low proportion of iron oxide that was to impart a slightly pinkish hue to the body once fired. The addition of frit, obtained from crushed glass, was indispensable here, as when molten it would form a binder between the quartz particles. The low clay content of stonepaste reduced its malleability, making it difficult to turn; certain forms such as dishes with everted flanges or chargers were therefore obtained with the help of a template placed on the wheel and an exterior mold.

The body was then coated with a slip – thinned siliceous clay – similar in composition to the paste and providing a perfect “fit” to the body. The decoration was applied to this slip coating when dry or perhaps after an initial firing of the body. It was trailed using a brush and various pigments and coated with a colorless glaze. While designs could be traced freehand, the highly structured compositions of many Iznik wares required the use of stencils. Many existing objects testify to their use, such as twin pieces and pieces with designs made up of identical motifs repeated at regular intervals, or “repeating-module tiles” used to form entire wall panels.

The composition of the tin-opacified lead-alkali glaze which coated the decoration was another distinctive feature of Iznik ceramics. This vitreous substance was of a highly pure composition here, characterized by a very low potash and magnesia content; these residual elements traditionally found in lead-alkali glazes came from their alkaline flux that was obtained from the ashes of plants from coastal or desert regions. The virtually total absence of such residue may be due to an additional ash purification stage, a technique used to produce Venetian cristallo glass from the mid-fifteenth century onward and which may have come to the notice of Iznik potters. The extremely transparent glazes of Iznik ceramic wares nonetheless contained a small proportion of tin. Firing temperatures for Iznik ceramics can only be estimated; such estimations range from 850-900° C to 1200° C.

Changes and evolution

The golden age of Iznik ceramic wares covered the whole of the sixteenth century, undergoing much formal evolution and enjoying increasing diversification of its decorative repertoire, with decline setting in from the early seventeenth century onward. Despite the lack of dated items, art historians have managed to piece together a relative chronology of the evolution of Iznik ceramics, bringing out the stylistic phases and delimiting the emergence of certain forms.

  • Between 1480 and 1520, cobalt blue was the predominant decorative hue, with different concentrations of the same pigment being used to obtain many shades of blue. This initial phase was dominated stylistically by a combination of stylized vegetal forms specific to the Islamic repertoire called rumi in reference to the Seljukids of Rum, and of floral motifs known as hatayi inspired by Chinese art (China being Hatay in Ottoman).
  • Towards the late 1520s, turquoise, obtained from copper oxide, was associated with the cobalt blue. With the diversification of Iznik’s ceramic repertoire, several styles were to coexist between 1530-40: the tugrakes spiral style inspired by the illuminations covering imperial monograms; the “potters’ style” that included novel features such as a new floral thematic register; or a series of pieces imitating Chinese models to a greater or lesser degree of fidelity. This wave of Chinese inspiration was apparent in the introduction of themes such as the three bunches of grapes, the lotus bouquet, and the floral spiraling scrollwork in reserve on the center of dishes that would be constantly reinterpreted over the following decades. While Safavid ceramicists gladly adopted the figurative animal repertoire or landscape elements from the genre scenes of Chinese ceramic wares, Ottoman ceramicists favored compositional schemes and a host of secondary motifs, wave borders, meander scrollwork, rosettes, lotus petals, etc.
  • During the 1540s, the color palette of Iznik ceramics was distinctly enriched with a green ranging from sage to olive (probably introduced in the 1530s), and a manganese oxide-based aubergine mauve. This period is still sometimes referred to as the “Damascus phase” as this color scheme is similar to that found in tiles and vessels produced in Damascus in the Ottoman era. During this first polychrome phase the influence of the saz drawings is more clearly discernible. Developed by Sahkulu, a designer native to Tabriz and in the court’s employ since 1525, this style found its finest expression in ink drawings showing exuberant vegetal compositions that include composite flowers and highly intricate versions of the lotus blossoms and peonies of Chinese art, associated with long serrated leaves known as hançeri as their long curve is reminiscent of a dagger (hançer in Turkish). Tulips, carnations, hyacinths, and violets, highly prized by the Ottoman elite with a passion for horticulture, are gradually used to enrich saz compositions.
  • In the third quarter of the century, this naturalistic floral repertoire, called sukufe in Turkish, came to predominate, asserting itself along with a new color scheme based on the combination of bright tomato red in slight relief obtained from iron oxide, and a very fine emerald green.
  • In the last three decades of the sixteenth century, a highly diversified repertoire was also to find expression through such colorings: abstract compositions, sometimes set on fish-scale grounds, figurative scenes with animals or boats, etc. This was a highly prolific period, yet one that was to be swiftly followed by a period of slow decline at the turn of the seventeenth century. Continually reworked, inspirations from the past became hackneyed, and these clumsy versions with their increasingly perceptible loss of quality were no longer comparable with the creations of the previous century.

Tilework

Iznik tile production started to boom around the mid-sixteenth century and was stimulated and controlled by court commissions. Iznik was the main production center of underglaze painted tiles, but the city of Kütahya was to flourish throughout the seventeenth century. Many archival documents testify to the link between Iznik workshops and the court, including complaints addressed to the kadi of Iznik on delays in delivery or the misappropriation of tiles sold to merchants instead of being sent to the capital.

Ceramicists working in Istanbul appear to have played an important role before the mid-sixteenth century. Archive documents testify to the existence of a certain number of kasigeran (tilemakers) at that time among the craftsmen directly attached to the court (ehl-i hiref), whereas their number would become insignificant in the second half of the century.

These craftsmen produced both underglaze painted and cuerda seca tiles. The technique of cuerda seca, which appeared towards the late fourteenth century in Central Asia, had already been used in the fifteenth century in monuments of early Ottoman art, through the intervention of craftsmen who had been trained in this technique at the Timurid court. It enjoyed renewed favor shortly after Selim I captured Tabriz, once again impelled by craftsmen of Iranian extraction. These cuerda seca designs are attributed to a group overseen by a certain Habib of Tabriz, then by his successor Usta Ali, both mentioned in the archives of the Topkapi Palace. This technique, which is to be found on several buildings in Istanbul, attained the height of its perfection with the interior decoration of the tomb of the Sehzade Mehmet (1445-48). Shortly after this mausoleum decoration was produced, this technique went out of fashion, to be supplanted by underglaze painted designs. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem was the last large building project to feature it.

In Istanbul, the same group of ceramicists may have produced underglaze painted tiles intended to decorate pavilions built in the Topkapi Palace. Some of them bear some relation to the decoration of cuerda seca tilework; in particular, they share a repertoire of motifs that appear to be executed in the stencil style. The most remarkable achievements that can be attributed to these workshops are two monumental plaques reused in the seventeenth century on the façade of the Sünnet Odasi (Circumcision Room) featuring a saz landscape peopled with fabulous beasts. The perfection of the drawing is probably due to the intervention of a designer from the imperial nakkashane – perhaps Sahkulu himself. The coloring is still limited here to cobalt blue and turquoise, and matches that of contemporaneous Iznik ceramic wares.

From the early sixteenth century onward Iznik craftsmen would also have produced tiles, sporadically and still on a very limited scale. The tiles of the mausoleum of Sehzade Mahmud (around 1506), very close to the style of Baba Nakkas pottery wares, are one example attesting to this output. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, when commissions for underglaze painted tiles came flooding into Iznik workshops, their designs and color schemes evolved in accordance with those of ceramic vessels. One part of the repertoire was firmly rooted in the tradition of architectural tilework, with “stencil-style” motifs, while elements characteristic of the saz and sukufe registers found on vessels were also in evidence. Red was first seen in the tilework decoration of the Süleymaniye (completed in 1559) and provides a benchmark for dating vessels bearing this color. Then was to begin a golden age with a succession of large building initiatives that gave rise to unique decorative programs in which tilework would match painted work (kalem isi) or exterior designs carved in stone: the Rüstem Pasa Mosque (circa 1561), the Sokollu Mehmed Pasa Mosque (1572), or the mausoleums of Roxelane (1558), Süleyman the Magnificent (1566), or Selim II (1572).

These ceramic designs, like the Ottoman architectural style that came to assert itself in these provincial towns, are all echoes of the evolution of forms and tastes that spread from the capital of the Empire to the provinces. Craftsmen from Iznik would execute the decorations of the monuments of Antalya, Aleppo, or Diyarbakir locally. The color palette characteristic of Iznik wares recurs here, yet with slight differences: a less rigorous symmetry, a more irregular grid, different standards of sizes, and a glaze of lesser quality.

In the city of Damascus, a more original production, nonetheless influenced by the decorative repertoire of Iznik tiles, came into being shortly after the renovation of the Dome of the Rock. Some of the craftsmen who worked on the restoration of this prestigious monument may then have gone on to settle in Damascus, where they made the tiles destined for the pious foundations constructed in this city by Süleyman the Magnificent or high-ranking Ottoman dignitaries. One of the first constructions was the mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent built around 1550-54. It revealed for the first time tilework inspired by Istanbul creations but in a color palette that was subsequently to mark Damascene production: turquoise blue, chrome green, and aubergine brown. The Damascene color palette – which is also that of Iznik wares from the 1540s and 1550s – is a color scheme that was already found in the Mamluke era. However the craftsmen of Damascus also maintained the taste for designs trailed in black beneath a turquoise glaze – a further legacy from the medieval past adapted to a specifically Ottoman decorative repertoire. The local production of tiles – known in Damascus by the term qishani, derived from the name of the Iranian city of Kashan – seems to have endured since the Mamluke era. The stonepaste was also made according to recipes dating back to medieval times, and the glazes remained mainly alkaline and subject to crackling.

Peacock dish

Peacock dish. Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1550. This dish offers the viewer a complex vegetal composition combining elements from the saz repertoire – long serrated leaves, composite flowers and buds – with a more naturalistic style of plant motif – artichoke stems in bloom, flowers with swirling petals, tulips, and perhaps delicate violets. In the center is an errant peacock, lost in this fantastic garden. The decoration is exceptional in all respects: a subtle harmony of blue, turquoise, and pink monochromes, accentuated by the dark green color of the outlines; a surface made uniform through a composition that runs unbroken onto the flange; the superimposing of vegetal forms to create a three-dimensional effect. Most of the vegetal motifs, and the palette of hues, may be seen on other Ottoman ceramic wares from the 1540s and 1550s. Alongside the elements specific to the saz style blooms a more naturalistic style of vegetation: the thick central stem bearing an artichoke flower with a fish-scale pattern can be found on a series of dishes attributed to between 1540 and 1545; as for the tulips, they are to be seen on many dishes from the middle of the century, including pieces ascribed to the circle of the artist Musli; the dainty violets, executed in the same color as the tulips, are more rarely found in ceramics and herald the violets that graced the margins of the Divan-i Muhibbi (1566) overseen by the illuminator Kara Memi. While it is an accepted fact that workshops of the city of Iznik could produce very high quality works, the extreme finesse of this dish and the mastery of its composition also suggest a production from Istanbul, linked to the palace craftsmen (elh-i hiref). Istanbul archives attest to close links existing between the ceramists and ornamentalists working in the palace workshops, and it is highly probably that there was a production outlet in Istanbul itself. The choice of the peacock is therefore perhaps not without significance here: in the Persian culture that spread to the Ottoman court the bird is a symbol of royalty and power.

Bottle with medallions and flowering branches

Bottle with medallions and flowering branches. Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1535-45.Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating; silver-copper . During the second quarter of the sixteenth century, Iznik ceramic wares marked a renewal of the repertoire at odds with the aesthetics of the “Baba Nakkas” potteries. A figurative thematic register (flowers, boats, animals) emerged here, including a selection of floral motifs (tulips, carnations and hyacinths and flowering stems) of still modest proportions. During this period, which N. Atasoy and J. Raby have termed the “Potters’ style”, cobalt blue and turquoise are the dominant hues. On this bottle with its decoration arranged in wide registers and small horizontal bands, “whipped” cobalt blue is used as ground color. Standing out in reserve on the two main registers are a series of twin stems with regular flowerets emerging from a tuft of leaves. In a symmetrical movement they frame a turquoise medallion adorned with arabesque scrolling stems similar to the medallions in illuminated manuscripts. This piece is attached to a sub-group of the “Potters’ style” characterized by a decoration of flowering stems on a cobalt blue ground and combined with medallions or mandorlas with a turquoise ground. Its form is also close to a group of water bottles (sürahi) with long necks and pear-shaped bodies, averaging a height of forty centimeters.

Tankard with floral decoration

Tankard with floral decoration. Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1575-80 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating H. 27.5 cm; Opening Diam. 14.5 cm; Base Diam. 15.7 cm Musée du Louvre, Charles Piet-Lataudrie bequest, 1909 OA 6323 The cylindrical form of this tankard is probably a legacy of its Northern and Eastern European counterparts used to contain beer, and made of wood, ceramics, metal, glass, or leather. Yet they may also be styled on other wooden containers such as grain measures, which endured for centuries. Ottoman ceramic tankards did not appear until the second quarter of the sixteenth century. In the Ottoman world these tankards, which were also made from jade or metal, would probably have held drinks too. They may also have been used as vases, as is borne out by miniatures on which they contain bouquets of flowers; these would fall into the "çiçek bardagi" category found in the Ottoman archives. Forms varied over the sixteenth century: around 1575, they became sturdier, with the body of the tankard being less tall and narrow, the handle still flat and angular, and its long fixations extending over the full height of the object. This tankard is decorated with naturalistic floral motifs characteristic of the 1570s and 1580s. These include roses, tulips and lilies, various species that were cultivated at the time and popular among the urban elite. A similar sequence of these flowers is repeated here four times with such regularity that a stencil was probably used. A skilful interplay of superimposed and intertwined stems provides depth to the ensemble, with such effects as a rose crossing its own stem, or the iris passing before the stem of the flowers with six petals. This tankard has a metal mount, a process common to both the Ottoman world and Europe, and also often used in the Ottoman court for Chinese porcelain.

Recipient with lid

Recipient with lid Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1585 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating H. 27 cm; Diam. 24 cm Musée du Louvre, Musée de Cluny deposit, 1926 OA 7880/101 In the 1580s, the relief red style was applied to large surfaces on a series of very different objects, including a majority of dishes and tankards. This large lidded bowl is representative of the use of this highly present red and its spectacular effect achieved by application on wide bands, standing out strongly against a brilliant white ground. While the decoration of this group of objects is generally lacking in delicacy and fineness of execution, the monumental aspect conferred on the pieces by these powerful and highly contrasting colors makes up for this relative weakness.

Bowl with carnations

Bowl with carnations Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1560-75 Stonepaste, colored slip and painted decoration with underglaze H. 12.9 cm; Opening Diam. 20.1 cm; Base Diam. 9.5 cm Musée du Louvre, Piet-Lataudrie bequest, 1910 OA 6325 The group of ceramic pieces to which this bowl belongs was created between 1560 and 1575. While fully in keeping with those produced in Iznik in terms of typology and decorative repertoire, it differs in the choice of colored slips used both as a background and as a pictorial medium. On the rounded walls of the bowl, with its bright coral red colored slip ground, the same motif is repeated eight times and also adorns the bottom of the bowl: lavender blue flowers, carnations and roses in bud or tulips in white slip, all with parallel sprays slanting in an anti-clockwise direction. The areas with a white slip coating also sport cobalt blue highlights, which are visible for instance on the angular strapwork accentuating the lip or on the petals of the carnations. This bowl would originally have had a lid of a similar shape, but inverted and smaller. With its foot-shaped tip, this lid when turned over could be used as an extra dish. While pieces surviving fully intact are rare, many fragments have been discovered in the various excavations undertaken in the city of Iznik.

Dish with calligraphic decoration

Dish with calligraphic decoration Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1480 Stonepaste, siliceous underglaze painting over a siliceous slip coating H. 7.5 cm; Opening Diam. 37 cm; Base Diam. 23.2 cm Musée du Louvre, Charles Piet-Lataudrie bequest, 1909 OA 6321 Around 1470-80, potters from the city of Iznik began to produce very high quality stonepaste ceramic wares, which vied with Chinese porcelain in their whiteness and brilliance. Their decoration in reserve on a cobalt blue ground was inspired by Yuan (1271-1368) blue-and-white porcelains. The quality of these ceramic wares reflected the ambitions of a court patronage with a growing demand for objects of luxury and prestige. The interior of the dish with flanged rim is divided into concentric circles separated by white filets. In the central medallion an interlace motif with a taut dynamic movement, bearing leaves and delicately shaded rumi split-palmettes, is arranged as an eight-pointed star. The three successive rings are adorned with undulating or spiral-style scrolls with fleshy hatayi flowers derived from the motifs of peonies or lotus blossoms of Chinese ceramics; the petals of the veined flowers with their upwardly-curled tips have been compared to “boxing gloves”. This motif highly characteristic of the first phase of Iznik pottery is inspired by the creations of Baba Nakkas, a major designer from the reign of Mehmet II whose output is known through drawings conserved in an album in the Topkapi Museum. From the driving force of book arts, this motif would make its way into other arts, carved on contemporaneous wood paneling, chased in metal, or in leatherwork. Within the medial ring of the well, as if superimposed upon the scrolling, runs a line of Kufic script with cursive upstrokes whose letters are recognizable but whose meaning has yet to be deciphered.

Two tiles with cypresses and flowers

Two tiles with cypresses and flowers Syria, third quarter of the 16th century or early 17th century (?) Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating H. 54 cm; Max. L. 20.8 cm Musée du Louvre, Musée des Arts décoratifs deposit, Mrs Guillon bequest, 1910 Ucad 17351:: An abundant floral decoration composed of various flowers and stems graces these two tiles. They would probably have belonged to sets of panels similar to those of mosques in Damascus, in which the vegetal decoration organized around vases or cypresses spreads out freely over a white or dark blue ground. The colors used are to be found on various Damascene panels and are inspired by the spirit of Iznik ceramic wares, although the effect obtained is quite different: the red is not applied thickly and verges on brown; the blue is more transparent than that used by Turkish potters; and the olive green is very different from the emerald green characteristic of imperial productions. Syrian ceramics may be distinguished in particular by the orchestration of their vegetal motifs. Panels present a less rigorous structure and an impression of abundance. The fluid compositions adapt to architectural constraints to the extent of twisting stems and bending the whorls of petals. The influence of the floral style (sukufe), associated with the illuminator Kara Memi and which has become a particular hallmark of Ottoman art, is quite apparent here. Tulips, carnations, and flowering cypresses are evocative of many Turkish panels. The iris motif in particular recurs on Syrian panels. It was probably conveyed through Ottoman book art as the design of flowers on ceramic wares displays the same features as those depicted in works such as the Divan-i Muhibbi illustrated by Kara Memi in 1566, as well as other works inspired by this including the Mundy Album of 1618.

Two tile panels with rose and tulips

Two tile panels with rose and tulips Turkey, “Iznik”, c. 1565-75 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating W. 178.5 cm; L. 76.5 cm; Th. 4 cm Musée du Louvre, acquired 1895, former A. Sorlin-Dorigny Collection Ucad 5972 a et b :: The decoration of these two panels made up of twenty-one tiles is extraordinarily light and elegant. It shows full mastery of the palette of hues, typical of the 1570s, which plays on the contrast between emerald green, tomato red, and a medium ultramarine blue. Emerging from a tuft of serrated saz leaves, two fine rose stems curve their way up the panel, fixed at the point where they come together by clasps of cloud, and forming flattened mandorlas through their parallel movement. Without grafting themselves onto this upward movement but by keeping pace with its rhythm, large tulips come apart and together at regular intervals, surrounded by stems of single flowers with a red center and blue petals. Small bands of stylized clouds or fine rumi compositions are lodged here and there in the remaining space. Both panels are quite identical in design with the exception of the motif that fills in the spandrel of the arch.

Poetical inscription

Poetical inscription Syria, Damascus, 16th-17th century (?) Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating H. 36.5 cm; W. 1.15 m MMusée du Louvre, Musée des Arts décoratifs deposit, Jules Maciet gift, 1896 Ucad 8377:: The inscription in Persian decorating this panel is the final beyt of a ghazal by the famous poet Hafiz, a native of the city of Shiraz: “The chant of Thy congregation swells the heavens, now that Hafiz’s delicious poem is thy song”. Yet this panel does not come from Iran, but in all likelihood from Syria. In the floriated frieze framing the inscription can be seen the bright chrome green so characteristic of Damascene production in the Ottoman era, combined with cobalt blue and turquoise. The thickness and the rounded surface of the tiles and the orchestration of the composition, which was transferred to a template not completely regular in form (the first row of tiles and the last column to the left are narrower) are often seen on Syrian panels. A panel in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Lyon (inv. 1969-317) displays a composition identical to that of the Musée des Arts décoratifs; it contains another beyt from the same ghazal. Both panels were probably designed for the same unit, perhaps a private house? Like the many versions of the Divan of Hafiz kept in libraries in Turkey, the presence of these few verses is further testimony to the fame of this Persian poet, whose ghazals were admired and imitated by numerous Ottoman poets.

Tile with undulating flowering stems

Tile with undulating flowering stems Turkey, c. 1550-60 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating W. 37.5 cm; L. 29.5 cm Musée du Louvre, Musée des Arts décoratifs deposit, gift of Jules Maciet, 1903 Ucad 10539 ::This tile with a blue ground shows two symmetrical undulating flowering branches, whose movement is echoed in the surrounding tulips and hyacinths. The effect of closing in and out heralds the compositions with undulating stems and blossoms to be found in the latter half of the century on tiles and fabrics. This tile is unique: the unusually dense floral composition stands out against an ultramarine blue ground that is deeper than the famous “whipped blue” used as a ground color in tiles from 1565 to 1580. The pigment was applied here in a thick layer that bubbled slightly during the firing but which resulted in this exceptionally deep and dense ultramarine blue. The graphic style of the black sketch lines sometimes visible on the motifs in reserve, as well as the palette reduced to the contrast between cobalt blue and turquoise, may also be seen on other friezes.

Pair of spandrels with roses and tulips

Pair of spandrels with roses and tulips. Turkey, c. 1560-70 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating H. 31.2 cm; W. 57.5 cm Musée du Louvre, acquired 1895, former A. Sorlin-Dorigny Collection OA 3959/52, OA 3959/53 :: Turkey, c. 1560-70 Stonepaste, underglaze painting over a slip coating H. 31.2 cm; W. 57.5 cm Musée du Louvre, acquired 1895, former A. Sorlin-Dorigny Collection OA 3959/52, OA 3959/53

  • ottoman ceramics
  • iznik art
  • baba nakkaş
  • UNDERGLAZED ISLAMIC TILES

About the Author
The Louvre opened to the public in 1793 and has eight thematic galleries with over 35,000 pieces of art work. The art collection in these galleries dates from the ancient times till the modern period. Some of the permanent collections include masterpieces by Da Vinci, Delacroix, Vermeer and Rubens. There is an Islamic arts collection at the museum. This gallery has a wonderful collection of ceramics, glass, wood, metalware, ivory, carpet, textiles, and miniatures.
3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I’ve created some models of those ceramics on your website.
    http://rasulh.deviantart.com/art/Iznik-and-Ottoman-Ceramics-263392837

    • These are amazing. Good work. Did you make these 3d models after seeing our post?

  2. Thanks. Yes, very interesting post!

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