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Patronage by the Ottoman court: Süleyman the Magnificent
|After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman sultans started a huge building programme. In these buildings, especially those commissioned by Süleyman, his wife Hürrem (Roxelana) and his Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha, large quantities of tiles were used. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul (the "Blue Mosque") alone contains 20,000 tiles. The Rüstem Pasha Mosque is more densely tiled and tiles were used extensively in the Topkapı Palace. As a result of this demand, tiles dominated the output of the Iznik potteries.|
Under Süleyman the Magnificent (1520–66), demand for İznik wares increased. Jugs, hanging lamps, cups, bowls and dishes were produced, inspired by metalwork and illuminated books as well as Chinese ceramics. Many large dishes were made with looser designs, incorporating ships, animals, trees and flowers. The dishes appear to have been made for display, as most have pierced footrings so that they can be hung up, but they have been observed also to be scratched from use. Designs in the 1520s include the saz style in which a long, serrated saz leaf, dynamically arranged, is balanced by static rosette forms. In the later 16th century, the quatre fleurs style used a repertoire of stylised tulips, carnations, roses and hyacinths.
Fruit sellers carrying ceramic jars in front of Sultan Murad III, c. 1582.
|The so-called 'Golden Horn ware' was a variation on the blue-and-white decoration that was popular from the late 1520s to 1550s. Golden Horn ware was so named because sherds in this style were excavated in the Golden Horn area of Istanbul.[c] It was later realized that the pottery was made in Iznik as some motifs on the vessels closely resembled those used on other blue-and-white Iznik pottery. The decoration consists of a series of thin spirals adorned with small leaves. The narrow rims of dishes are painted with a meandering pattern. The design is similar to the illuminated spiral scrolls used as a background to Sultan Suleyman's Tuğra, or imperial monogram. Julian Raby has used the term 'Tuğrakeş spiral ware' as the tuğrakeş were the specialist calligraphers in the Ottoman court. The earlier vessels were painted in cobalt blue while later vessels often include turquoise, olive-green and black.A number of dishes dating from this period show the influence of Italian pottery. The small bowls and a large flat rims are similar in shape to maiolica tondino dishes that were popular in Italy between 1500 and 1530.|| |
Iznik tiles in the Neo-classical Enderûn Library in the Topkapi Palace
|Cut down water bottle, probably made inKütahya, dated 1529||Deep dish with foliate rim, c. 1530||Water bottle, c. 1530-1535||Tondino dish, c. 1530–1540||Deep dish with foliate rim, c. 1530–1540||Ewer, c. 1530-1540|
Damascus ware (c. 1540 - c. 1555)
|The so-called 'Damascus ware' was popular under Suleiman the Magnificent from 1540 to 1555. Vessels were decorated for the first time with green and purple, in addition to cobalt blue and turquoise, and form a transition towards full-fledged polychrome ceramics.They were mistakenly believed to have originated from Damascus by art collectors in the second half of the 19th century. The name is particular misleading as tiles with a similar palette of pastel colours and floral designs were made in Damascus from the second half of the 16th century.|
A key object from this period is a ceramic vessel in the form of a mosque lamp with an inscribed date that is now in the British Museum. It is the best documented surviving piece of Iznik pottery and enables scholars to fix the dates and provenance of other objects. The lamp was discovered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in the middle of the 19th century and is believed to have been associated with the refurbishment of the Dome of the Rock initiated by Suleiman the Magnificent. Around the base of the lamp are a series of inscribed cartouches giving the name of the decorator (Musli), a dedication to the Iznik Sufi saint Eşrefzâde Rumi, and the date of AH 956 in the month of Jumada'l-Ula (AD 1549). The lamp is decorated in green, black and two shades of blue. The design includes pale blue cloud-banks, small-scale arabesques on a green ground and a row of tulip buds in dark-blue cartouches. The lamp can be used to date a group of other vessels including some large footed basins. Although the basins are quite different from the lamp in overall style, each basin shares motifs present on the lamp
Pitcher with flower decoration, c. 1560–1570
|Mosque lamp, probably made for the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, dated 1549||Dish with cloud scrolls that are similar to those on the lamp, c. 1550||Dish with saz leaves and flowers, c. 1545-1550||Dish covered with rosettes, saz leaves and a peacock, c. 1540–1555||Dish covered with rosettes and saz leaves, c. 1545-1550||Rimless shallow dish with flowers and a cypress, c. 1525-1550|
|There are only two surviving buildings with tiles that use the purple colour scheme. The earliest is the Yeni Kaplıca bathhouse in Bursa where the walls are covered with hexagonal tiles set on their points. The tiles are decorated with arabesques and floral motifs painted in blue, turquoise, olive green and purple. There are nine different designs. The tiles were originally installed in a different building but were transferred to the Yeni Kaplıca bathhouse when it was restored by the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha in 1552-1553. The tiles probably date from the late 1540s.|
The other building is the Hadim Ibrahim Pasha Mosque at Silivrikapı in Istanbul which was designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan and completed in 1551. Under the portico on the north façade are three tiled lunette panels and two roundels. The panels have white thuluth lettering reserved on a dark cobalt blue background. Between the letters are flowers in purple and turquoise. Within the mosque above the mihrab is a large lunette panel with tiles painted in cobalt blue, turquoise and dark olive green