Guide to Iznik Tile and Plates

Iznik Tile comes from the city of Iznik which in earlier times was the city of Nicea. The two councils of Nicea are important milestones in Christian Church history.

In the late 16th century the tiles of Iznik incorporated new designs and new colors and Iznik immerged as the preeminent city for tile production in the Ottoman empire. A major part of the transformation had to do with the introduction of Persian designs rendered in a distinctly Ottoman style.

Nurhan Atasoy writes:
"When Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) conquered Tabriz, craftsmen from that city brought to Istanbul made their own contributions to Ottoman Turkish art. Among these diverse craftsmen were sixteen painters, one of whom, Sah Kulu, introduced the Saz style into Ottoman art.

This was undoubtedly one of the most significant innovations in Ottoman decorative art. Not long after Sah Kulu began to work at the Ottoman palace workshops, in the early part of Suleyman the Magnificent's reign (1520-1566), the influence of his style begins to appear on Iznik tiles." HISTORY OF IZNIK TILES Iznik Tiles by Nurhan ATASOY


Examples:


 A Fine Iznik Polychrome Dish Circa 1575 


 A Fine Iznik Polychrome Dish Circa 1575

measurements note: 29.2cm. diam.

DESCRIPTION

Of shallow rounded form, decorated in underglaze cobalt blue, green, relief red and outlined in black with a central design of radiating leaves, tulips and prunus blossom emanating from a floral rosette enclosed within a blue cartouche, the cavetto with a band of chain and dot motif against a scroll ground, the rim with breaking wave design, the reverse with alternating spirals and leaf motifs, old collector's label glued to base.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550




An Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tile C 1580 


An Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tile C 1580

measurements note: 24.5cm. and 24cm. square

DESCRIPTION

Decorated in two shades of cobalt-blue, bole red, turquoise and green outlined in black with bold saz leaves overlapping and intersected by sprigs of prunus blossom with lotus heads and red-ground cartouches filled with tulips and carnations.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550

These tiles are part of a well-known group from the Eyup shrine and mosque complex on the Golden Horn in Istanbul. The shrine suffered severe earthquake damage in the early nineteenth century and many sixteenth-century tiles found their way onto the European art market in the wake of the extensive reconstruction work at that time. Others remain in situ on the walls of the Eyup shrine.




An Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tile C 1580 


An Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tile C 1580

measurements note: 24.5cm. square

DESCRIPTION

Of square form decorated with underglaze cobalt blue, green, turquoise and relief red, outlined in black with a large feathery saz leaf overlapping and intersected by a sprig of prunus blossom, the corners with composite lotus heads and red-ground cartouches filled with tulips and carnations.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550




An Iznik Carnations and Prunus blossom Polychrome Dish C 1575 


An Iznik Carnations and Prunus blossom Polychrome Dish C 1575

measurements note: 31cm diam.

DESCRIPTION

Of shallow rounded form, decorated in underglaze cobalt blue, green, relief red and outlined in black, with a symmetrical floral arrangement of carnations and prunus blossom emanating from a leafy tuft flanked by cloudbands and palmettes, the rim with breaking wave motif, the reverse with alternating paired tulips and rosettes.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550




An Iznik Polychrome Pottery Ottoman boat Dish Early 17th C


An Iznik Polychrome Pottery Ottoman boat Dish Early 17th C

measurements note: 26.3cm. diam.

DESCRIPTION

Of rounded form with sloping rim, decorated with a repeat design of Ottoman boats with stylised waves or rocks in bole red, the rim with breaking wave border.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550



Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tile C 1580



Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tile C 1580

measurements note: 26.7cm. square; framed

DESCRIPTION

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Decorated in two shades of cobalt-blue, red, turquoise, green and black outline with a large feathery saz leaf overlapping and intersected by a sprig of prunus blossom with composite lotus heads and red-ground cartouches filled with tulips and carnations.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire



Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tiles C 1580


Eyup Mosque Iznik Polychrome Tiles C 1580

measurements note: each approx. 25cm. square

DESCRIPTION

Decorated in two shades of cobalt-blue, relief red, turquoise and green outlined in black with bold saz leaves overlapping and intersected by sprigs of prunus blossom with lotus heads and red-ground cartouches filled with tulips and carnations.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire




Iznik Blue and White Pottery Dish C 1480-1500 

Iznik Blue and White Pottery Dish C 1480-1500

OTTOMAN TURKEY, CIRCA 1480-1500

With rounded cavetto, narrow sloping rim and upturned edge on short foot, the white interior with a central roundel containing scrolling tendrils issuing a central swirling flowerhead flanked by six smaller similar flowerheads, the cavetto with a broad band of similar designs, the rim with a similar but simplified design, the underside of the cavetto with a further similar band within a cusped band running around the below the rim, the underside of the foot without white slip under the glaze and with small central unglazed spot, minimal rim chips, otherwise excellent condition.

16in. (40.5cm.) diam.




Iznik Ottoman Tile Early 17th C


Iznik Ottoman Tile Early 17th C

TURKEY, IZNIK, BEGINNING OF THE 17TH CENTURY

Of siliceous ceramic with decoration painted in polychrome on a background of white slip under transparent glaze, adorned with a pair of palmettes surrounding a large peony from which splashes flourished; Fractured and chipped on the border.

Width: 25,5 cm. (10 1/8 in.)

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire




Iznik Pottery Dish C 1580


Iznik Pottery Dish C 1580

OTTOMAN TURKEY, CIRCA 1580

With sloping rim on short foot, the white interior decorated in cobalt-blue, green and black underglaze and bole-red, with two recurved large green saz leaves issuing from a central tuft forming a broad cartouche enclosing two bold palmettes in blue and red, the interstices filled with similar smaller palmettes, the rim with stylized wave and rock border in blue and black, the edges painted to imitate cusping, the exterior with alternating paired tulips and single flowerheads in blue with green highlights, rim and foot drilled, minimal rim chips, remnants of old collection labels on underside.

11 5/8in. (29.6cm.) diam.



Iznik Pottery Dish C 1600 


Iznik Pottery Dish C 1600

OTTOMAN TURKEY, CIRCA 1600

With sloping rim on short foot, the white interior painted in blue, green, red and black with a central small vase issuing floral spray, flanked by a pair of large blue saz leaves, flanked by red floral sprays and a pair of red tulips, the border with blue and red stylized wave-motifs, the exterior with alternating blue clusters of three and single green roundels, intact, foot and rim drilled.

1¼in. (25.8cm.) diam.



Iznik Pottery Dish Ottoman Turkey C 1620


Iznik Pottery Dish Ottoman Turkey C 1620

OTTOMAN TURKEY, CIRCA 1620

Of shallow form on short foot, the white interior painted under the clear glaze with a spray of roses flanked by narcissi, the rim with stylised wave and rock border

10¼in. (26.5cm.) diameter



An Iznik Polychrome Pottery Wreath of Prunus Blossoms Dish C 1575


An Iznik Polychrome Pottery Wreath of Prunus Blossoms Dish C 1575

measurements note: 26cm. diam.

DESCRIPTION

Of shallow rounded form, painted in underglaze cobalt blue, green, relief red and outlined in black, with a central rosette with radiating leaves and blossom encircled by a wreath of prunus blossom, the rim decorated with alternating paired tulips and flowerheads, the reverse with similar decoration.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550



Islamic Art: 2 Dome of the Rock Tiles Circa 1550 


Islamic Art: 2 Dome of the Rock Tiles Circa 1550

measurements note: 14.3cm., framed

DESCRIPTION

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Decorated in black under a transparent green glaze with a stellar motif with six trefoil arms.

Country of Origin: Ottoman Empire

Date of Origin Circa A.D.1550

Tiles of this type were employed in the Ottoman renovation of the Dome of the Rock undertaken at the behest of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in the mid-sixteenth century.










An Iznik polychrome pottery tile


An Iznik polychrome pottery tile

An Iznik polychrome pottery tile, Turkey, circa 1573-4 A.D.

Decorated in two shades of cobalt-blue, turquoise, relief-red, green and black outlines with assymetrical sprays of hyacinths, carnations and fantastic floral motifs.

24.7 by 22 cm.

Tiles of this design decorate the tomb of Prince Mustafa, son of Suleyman the Magnificent.




An Iznik Tankard Circa 1585


An Iznik Tankard Circa 1585

DESCRIPTION

An Iznik polychrome pottery tankard, Turkey, circa 1585 A.D. of cylindrical form with a square handle, decorated in green, cobalt-blue and relief-red, with black outlines, the design composed of slender saz leaves alternating with floral sprays including roses and tulips, within borders of a keyfret pattern. 20.8 cm