Name of Object:

Dish (tondino)


London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Victoria and Albert Museum

About Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Date of Object:

About hegira 941–951 / AD 1535–45

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Painted and glazed ceramic.


Height 4.9 cm, diameter 26.6 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Iznik, Turkey.


A dish in the Italianate form known as tondino, with a narrow, deep well and a wide rim, decorated in two shades of blue on a white ground. The centre of the bowl features a medallion with a 'bouquet' of five flowers growing from a small mound. This pattern is repeated around the rim, in round spaces created by triangle-like indentations in dark blue; these spaces are linked by six-pointed stars at their intersections. Although the bouquet pattern is repeated, a close look reveals that no stencil was used – the artist drew the pattern freehand each time. This dish is one of a group of wares thought to represent a point in the history of Iznik pottery when the potters themselves, rather than painters, took over the decoration of the ceramics. This may have been a reaction to falling demand from the Ottoman court; by applying the designs themselves, the potters could lower the prices of the objects, and thus sell them to a broader market. The result of this change of approach was a simpler, more spontaneous style than the studied and meticulous designs found on previous Iznik wares. While the 'Potters'' style did not last long, giving way during the decade AH 950 / AD 1540 to the nascent classical Iznik aesthetic of brilliant polychrome floral designs, it does represent an important moment in the history of Ottoman ceramics.

View Short Description

A dish in the Italianate form known as tondino, with decoration based on a repeating pattern of a bouquet of five flowers. This dish is one of a group of wares thought to represent a time when the potters themselves, rather than painters, took over the decoration of Iznik ceramics.

How date and origin were established:

Stylistic comparison (see description).

How Object was obtained:

Bequest of George Salting in 1910.

How provenance was established:

Iznik was the centre of quality ceramic production in this period.

Selected bibliography:

Atasoy, N., and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, Istanbul/London, 1989, p.118, fig. 154.

Lane, A., Later Islamic Pottery: Persia, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, London, 1957, pp.51–2 and plate 30A.

Citation of this web page:

Barry Wood "Dish (tondino)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;uk;Mus02;48;en

Prepared 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.

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: UK2 61


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Ottomans | Table Culture

MWNF Galleries


See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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