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  • Place of origin:

    Iznik (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1510 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, underglaze painted in cobalt blue, glazed

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 6W

The large hemispherical basins from Iznik are among the finest examples of Islamic pottery. They are admired for their monumental size, accomplished potting and well-planned decoration. This relatively early basin has a lower foot and its colour scheme is restricted to blue-and-white. The outside is decorated with large-scale Chinese clouds and leafy scrolls. The interior is organised around a six-pointed knotwork design.

The small town of Iznik in north-west Anatolia has given its name to some of the most accomplished ceramics produced in the Islamic Middle East. In the mid 15th century, potters there specialised in modest earthenware imitations of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. But in the 1460s or 1470s, under the patronage of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, they began to manufacture bowls, dishes and other pieces of fritware that were elegant in shape and decoration. These wares were often very large.

Physical description

Footed bowl, fritware with polychrome underglaze painting, copying a metal prototype with the blue and white colour scheme of Chinese porcelain but with entirely Islamic motifs. The outside is decorated with Chinese clouds and leafy scrolls on a large scale; the interior is organised around a six-pointed knotwork design.

Place of Origin

Iznik (probably, made)


ca. 1510 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, underglaze painted in cobalt blue, glazed


Height: 23.3 cm, Diameter: 43.2 cm

Historical context note

The ceramic industry at Iznik was founded under Ottoman imperial patronage, during a Golden Age of the arts under Sultan Mehmed II (1451-81). The impetus for the Ottoman ceramics industry was the taste for imported Chinese blue-and-white porcelains. Several of the decorative features of this bowl – such as the knots and cloud collars on the interior – demonstrate the influence of Chinese design. This is an early piece, made before the introduction of turquoise to the Iznik palette in the 1520s. Its profile is also different from some other footed bowls, suggesting the shape had not yet been standardised.

Descriptive line

Blue-and-white basin, Turkey (probably Iznik), ca. 1510.

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

Lane, Arthur. Later Islamic Pottery. London: Faber and Faber, 1957. 133p., ill. Pages 45, 48, plate 26
pp.102, 135
Tim Stanley (ed.), with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004
Atasoy, N., and Raby, J. Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, Istanbul/London, 1989, 93, fig. 95.

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Blue-and-White Basin
Turkey, probably Iznik
About 1510

This earlier basin has a lower foot and its colour scheme is restricted to blue-and-white. The outside is decorated with the same Chinese clouds and leafy scrolls as the dish to its right, but drawn on a much larger scale. The interior is organised around a six-pointed knotwork design.

Fritware painted under the glaze

Museum no. C.1981-1910. Bequest of George Salting [Jameel Gallery]
Fritware with polychrome
underglaze painting
TURKEY (made at Iznik);
about 1520
Salting Bequest
This large bowl copies a metal prototype-shown by the distinctive 'metallic' mouldings on the foot. The design copies the blue-and-white colour-scheme from Chinese porcelain, but the motifs are entirely Islamic. [Used until 11/2003]





Subjects depicted

Clouds; Scrolls (motifs); Knotwork


Islam; Ceramics


Middle East Section

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