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  • Place of origin:

    Iznik (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1575 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, polychrome underglaze painted, glazed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case WE8

The design on this vase perfectly matches its form. Here tulips, carnations and other flowering plants seem to sway gently in a breeze, following the curved shape.

The white fritware body and brilliant underglaze colours are typical of ceramics made in Iznik. This small town in north-west Anatolia was a major centre of production and produced some of the most accomplished examples of Islamic pottery.

In the 16th century, when this piece was made, the wealth of the Ottoman rulers was reflected in sumptuous decorative arts. Their bold designs rarely included human or animal figures, preferring plant- and flower-based patterns, as here. This feature was deliberately designed to distinguish them from those produced in Iran at this time.

Physical description

Fritware vase, painted in underglaze colours, with flowers in red, blue and green. Narrow neck flaring at mouth leading to globular body, flaring foot. White ground painted with all over flowers in turquoise, red, cobalt blue and black. On body, tulips, carnations, other flowers growing from base leading to cobalt blue lobed motif around neck. Braided rope design of red and white around narrowest part of neck dividing design into upper and lower sections. Upper section on neck comprised of similar flowers.

Place of Origin

Iznik (probably, made)


ca. 1575 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, polychrome underglaze painted, glazed


Height: 31 cm, Diameter: 19 cm

Historical context note

Once relief red had been introduced to the Iznik palette in the 1550s, it was never absent. The Iznik style continued to develop and another new colour, emerald green, was used extensively from the 1570s. Soon after this, though, the level of patronage of the Iznik industry began to decline, and the quality of production drifted downwards. This splendid vase therefore shows the Iznik style at its peak, with realistic tulips, carnations and other flowers freely painted against a background of pure white.

Descriptive line

Bulbous vase decorated with tulips and carnations, Turkey (probably Iznik), ca. 1575.

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

Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby, Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey (London: Alexandria Press, 1989), fig. 703.

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Vase with Flowers
Turkey, probably Iznik
About 1575

Ceramics with a white fritware body were a distinctive part of Ottoman art. Potters often showed great skill in matching the designs they used to the shapes of vessels. Here tulips, carnations and other flowering plants seem to sway gently in a breeze, following the curved shape of the vase.

Fritware painted under the glaze

Museum no. 232-1876 [Jameel Gallery]
White earthenware painted in underglaze colours.
TURKISH (IZNIK); second half of 16th century [Old gallery label]


Fritware; Slip



Subjects depicted

Flowers; Carnations; Tulips


Ceramics; Islam


Middle East Section

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