Name of Object:

‘Miletus ware’ bowls


Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Holding Museum:

Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

About Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Sultanahmet

Date of Object:

Hegira 8th –9th centuries / AD 14th –15th centuries

Museum Inventory Number:

3161, 3174

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Red paste with white slip and blue-and-white decoration, a type known as ‘Miletus ware’.


Inv. no. 3161: Height 14 cm, diameter 27 cm; Inv. no. 3174: Height 14 cm, diameter 34 cm

Period / Dynasty:

Early Ottoman


Iznik, Turkey.


Inv. no. 3161: A bowl, the centre of which is framed by a circular band. Within it, dark-blue triangles are painted on a white ground. The points of the triangles meet, creating hexagons in the white space between them. These hexagons have dark-blue circles at their centres. The border is decorated with wave-and-rock motifs.

Inv. no. 3174: A bowl; on a white ground, within dark-blue frames, stylised palmettes emerge from stalks, their centres filled with spirals. In the border, interlaced white motifs appear on a dark-blue ground. The outside is decorated with green spiralling tendrils.

View Short Description

These two ceramic bowls have red paste, white slip and blue-and-white decoration. They are early examples of a ceramic group known as 'Miletus ware', which as a result of excavations at Iznik tile kilns is now known to have been produced at Iznik.

How date and origin were established:

As a result of the archaeological excavations at the Iznik kilns, many objects were found related to production of ceramics. These finds showed that ceramics variously classified as 'Miletus', 'Rhodian', and so forth were actually produced in Iznik, and they make it possible to establish a single classification and dating system for such wares.

How Object was obtained:

The bowls were found during archaeological excavations at Iznik and brought to the Museum on 10 February 1967.

How provenance was established:

The bowls were found during the course of archaeological excavations at the Iznik kilns.

Selected bibliography:

ölçer, N. et al, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Istanbul, 2002, pp.244–5.

Citation of this web page:

Cihat Soyhan "‘Miletus ware’ bowls" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;tr;Mus01;16;en

Prepared by: Cihat SoyhanCihat Soyhan

Cihat Soyhan was born in 1940. He graduated from the Department of Art History of the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University. He lectured at the 14th Art History Courses organised for teachers of art history at Haydarpaşa High School, Istanbul, in 1976. He was the ministerial commissar at the Tekfur Palace surveys in 1976 and the Iznik excavations in 1987. He published on Turkish tile art for the exhibition on 'Islamic Arts in the 15th Century of the Hijra' in 1983 and for other occasions. He retired from his post as an expert at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul in 2005 and passed away in early 2006.

Translation by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.
, İnci Türkoğluİnci Türkoğlu

İnci Türkoğlu has been working as a tourist guide and freelance consultant in tourism and publishing since 1993. She was born in Alaşehir, Turkey, in 1967. She graduated from the English Department of Bornova Anatolian High School in 1985 and lived in the USA for a year as an exchange student. She graduated from the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, and the professional tourist guide courses of the Ministry of Tourism in 1991. She worked as an engineer for a while. She graduated from the Department of Art History, Faculty of Letters, Ege University, Izmir, in 1997 with an undergraduate thesis entitled “Byzantine House Architecture in Western Anatolia”. She completed her Master's at the Byzantine Art branch of the same department in 2001 with a thesis entitled “Synagogue Architecture in Turkey from Antiquity to the Present”. She has published on art history and tourism.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: TR 31


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