Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Turkey (made)
    Iznik (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1545 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, underglaze polychrome painted in green and blue, glazed

  • Museum number:

    243-1876

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 4

This magnificent footed basin was produced at Iznik in north-west Turkey and has been dated to the late 1540s. It is an unusually large example of Iznik ware. The body is of white fritware, a compound material based on finely ground quartz powder made from sand or pebbles. This has been painted under the glaze with a pattern of tight concentric scrolls bearing tiny leaves and flowers, executed in greenish-black and set off with small ornamental devices in blue and turquoise. This type of decoration came to be known as the Golden Horn style when examples were excavated in Istanbul, close to the Golden Horn (the inlet of the sea to the north of the city). It was later realised that these wares were produced not in Istanbul but at Iznik.

The abilities of the Iznik potters in this period are exemplified by the extraordinarily large and sophisticated basins they produced. The scale and quality of these pieces, and the costs their production must have incurred, suggest that they were made for patrons at the highest level, although evidence for this is lacking. From about 1500, the range of colours employed in decorating Iznik wares increased, eventually encompassing shades of blue, turquoise, green and purple, all set off by a brilliant white ground. In the second half of the century, the colours increased in clarity, and their range expanded further to include a vibrant red: this was obtained by using a special clay, which was diluted and applied to the ceramic as a slip before glazing and firing.

Physical description

Footed bowl, stonepaste with underglaze decoration in cobalt and turquoise blue, featuring concentric roundels of foliate scrolls in the so-called 'Golden Horn' style inside and out.

Place of Origin

Turkey (made)
Iznik (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1545 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Fritware, underglaze polychrome painted in green and blue, glazed

Dimensions

Height: 28 cm, Diameter: 42.5 cm

Object history note

Compare with C.1980-1910

Historical context note

Once created, the Iznik fritware industry seems to have taken on a life of its own, reacting to ups and down in court demand by producing wares for a wider market. Over the eighty years following Mehmed II’s death in 1481, the range of shapes increased, and new decorative schemes were adopted. The abilities of the Iznik potters in this period are exemplified by the extraordinarily large and sophisticated basins they produced. The scale and quality of these pieces, and the costs their production must have incurred, suggest that they were made for patrons at the highest level, although evidence for this is lacking.

In the early sixteenth century, the range of colours employed in decorating Iznik wares increased, eventually encompassing shades of blue, turquoise, green and purple, all set off by a brilliant white ground. In the second half of the century, the colours increased in clarity, and their range expanded further to include a vibrant red: this was obtained by using a special clay, which was diluted and applied to the ceramic as a slip before glazing and firing.

Descriptive line

Fritware basin with 'Golden Horn' design, Turkey (probably Iznik), about 1545.

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

Atasoy, Nurhan & Raby, Julian, Iznik: the pottery of Ottoman Turkey (London, 1989): plates 235, 323; p.136-137
Atil, Esin, Turkish Art, Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press and New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1980. ISBN 0-87474-218-8 (S.I.P.), 0-8109-1659-2 (H.N.A.). Illustration 154 p. 279
Tim Stanley ed., with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004; pp. 18, 56, 102, plate 116

Labels and date

BOWL
Fritware with polychrome
underglaze painting
TURKEY (made at Iznik);
about 1540

Iznik pottery decorated with this spiral design is known as 'Golden Horn' ware after a mistaken attribution to a site near Istanbul. Similar spiral mortifs are found in manuscript illumination of the period. [Old label]
Basin with 'Golden Horn' Design
Turkey, probably Iznik
About 1545

The potters at Iznik showed their skill by creating large vessels with well-balanced designs. The pattern on this example is composed of tight concentric scrolls in black, which bear tiny leaves and flowers.

This pattern is often known as the 'Golden Horn' design, because examples were excavated near the inlet in Istanbul known as the Golden Horn.

Blue and turquoise motifs are set into the pattern. They resemble the enamelled plaques found on some silverware of the same period.

Fritware painted under the glaze

Museum no. 243-1876 [Jameel Gallery]

Materials

Fritware

Techniques

Thrown; Painted

Subjects depicted

Foliate scrolls

Categories

Islam; Ceramics

Collection

Middle East Section

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.