Name of Object:
London, England, United Kingdom
The British Museum
Date of Object:
About hegira 956 / AD 1550
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Stone-paste ceramic with blue, turquoise and olive-green painting under the glaze.
Diameter 39.4 cm
Period / Dynasty:
A stone-paste ceramic plate painted with blue, turquoise and olive-green underglaze. Covering the centre of the plate is a vibrant design of so-called saz leaves, fantastical flowers and a pair of tulips. Around the rim is a more ordered arrangement comprising clusters of green leaves alternating with bunches of white and blue flowers. The tulips grow from a leafy tuft at one edge of the bowl, while the other flowers encircle them. Plates produced at Iznik often display plants springing from one edge, providing a vertical orientation for the design. This plate is a fine example of the ‘saz’, or ‘Damascus’ style that became popular in the AH mid-10th / AD mid-16th century.
View Short Description
Tulips and fantastical flowers are depicted ‘growing’ from one edge of this ceramic plate, while saz leaves float around the bowl in a graceful arrangement. Ceramics of this type of design and palette were produced in Iznik although they were once considered products of the city of Damascus.
How date and origin were established:
A mosque lamp in the British Museum dated 955 (1549) provides the key to both the dating of this plate and all other vessels employing a similar colour scheme and using such motifs as the cloud scroll. Another fixed point is a group of tiles both in the Yeni Kaplica hammam (baths) in Bursa dated 959–60 (1552–3) and in the Ibrahim Pasha Mosque in Istanbul, built in 956 (1550). These tiles have the same colours and decorative motifs as the 'Damascus' group of ceramic objects, such as this plate.
How Object was obtained:
Henderson Bequest to the British Museum of 1878.
How provenance was established:
Iznik in Turkey was the main centre of production for underglaze painted ceramics of this style and colour, and using this technique during the Ottoman period.
Atasoy, N., and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989, cat. no. 249.
Citation of this web page:
Emily Shovelton "Plate" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;uk;Mus01;41;en