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  • Place of origin:

    Damascus (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1420-1450 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, underglaze painted in cobalt blue and turquoise, glazed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 27, shelf 8

These Mamluk tiles reflect the growing impact of Chinese ceramics, most evident in the colour scheme which imitates Chinese blue-and-white ceramics of the Yuan and Ming dynasties. They were painted with cobalt blue on a white ground before being glazed; blue is a fugitive colour and runs in the firing process, smearing the design. A turquoise border was often added, placed just outside the black line border.

Similar tiles survive in situ covering the walls in the mosque and tomb of the Mamluk dignitary Ghars al-Din Khalil al-Tawrizi (d. 1430) in Damascus, begun in 1423. Elsewhere they are found in the mosque of Murad II in Edirne, north-western Turkey, built in 1435-6. They are sometimes interspersed with plain turquoise tiles. The blue and white Syrian tiles are not slavish imitations of Chinese designs, but rather a unique hybrid of Islamic motifs incorporating swaying leaves or arabesques.

Physical description

Tile, fritware, pentagonal (originally hexagonal), painted in underglaze blue with a scrolling floral design, framed with two lines in black, enclosed with a turquoise border.

Place of Origin

Damascus (made)


ca. 1420-1450 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, underglaze painted in cobalt blue and turquoise, glazed


Length: 17.7 cm not measured

Descriptive line

Cer, Syria, Mamluk, Polychrome - Tile, fritware, hexagonal-type, painted in underglaze blue, black and turquoise; Syria (Damascus), ca. 1420-1450

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Lane, Arthur. A Guide to the Collection of Tiles. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1939, 2nd edition 1960. pl. 12.
Carswell, John. Six Tiles. In: Ettinghausen, R. (ed.): Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1972. pp.99-124






Tiles; Ceramics


Middle East Section

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