16th century Iznik Ceramics - Tiles
Turkish Iznik Ceramics,TilesSecond half of the 16th century which is named as the classical age of Turkish art during Ottoman rule, was the most magnificent period for ceramics as well as the other handcrafts.
The white paste products in ceramics which had started with the Blue-and-Whites had reached the summit of their developmental phases during 1549. The three lugged lamp, which originally belonged to the Omar Mosque in Jerusalem and which is now displayed in the British Museum, bears the production date and place on the inscription panel on its pedestal. This inscription reads Iznik -1549.
The most important final phase of the Turkish ceramic art also started with a three lugged lamp made for the Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul which was completed in 1557. This example is on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. One of the richest collections of the world related to that period is kept in the Tiled Kiosk, Istanbul which has been converted into the Museum of Turkish Building Tiles and Ceramics. This third stage of our building tile and ceramic art continued until 1608.
Iznik workshops applied underglaze technic during this period of extraordinary success which started with the Blue-and-Whites. This period attained a unique level in worldwide tile and ceramic art with its design and colour scale. The geometrical design of the Seljuk inheritance was completely dispensed with in the embellishments whereas the palmettes and leaves were still used. The plant motifs of the classical age were drawn on the white undercoats. A superficial abstraction is dominant in the naturalistic plant designs. The main examples of Nature motifs were carnations, tulips, plum blossoms and branches in full blossom, pomegranates, peonies, broken leaves, rosettes, roses, bunch of grapes, acanthus leaves, vases and birds with black, thin countermines.
The colour scale on the artist's palette reached to seven different
values with their various tones.
This technic is another development of that period. According to documents and books giving information about that period, forty five of the sixhundred artists working for the court were painters and designers. The composition of decorations to be applied on the inner or outer surfaces of artistic architectural works were prepared by those artists. The preliminairy sketches were presented to the court by means of the head architect and the necessary approval was obtained.
Imperial edicts and orders take place among the archives documents related to the Iznik tile workshops. In these documents dated 1575, 1578, 1588, not only the list of ordered products, but also the inventory of the tiles and pottery stocked in the depots are mentioned. Furthermore the names of the production supervisors and the artists are also written. The workshops that gave priority to the orders of the court and its close circles were more than 300 during that period. Those workshops met from time to time the demands for export and the foreign orders. The export port was Lindos in Rhodes. Some European researchers have been misled by the Rhodes stamps on the ceramics and they have mentioned these as Rhodes tiles and pottery in their publications. Some of these ceramics also bear the coats of arms of foreign families. It is understood from the samples that in addition to the Iznik production center, the workshops in Kütahya and Haliç, Istanbul successfully produced ceramics.
The recession in Iznik and the decadence of the workshops started in
the beginning of the 17th century. The colours lost their vividness. The
coral and tomato blues darkened. Quality deficits and cracks on the
glazes began. The attractiveness was lost. The net lines of the contours
were dispersed. The political regression was felt most at the Iznik tile
workshops among all the handcrafts. The decadence was completed when
financial support ceased and the producer families were scattered away.
The later attempts to revive did not give successful results. The level
of the second half of the 16th century was never attained. Since the
production technic details were kept secret, and the technical
development knowledge was not mentioned in written documents, an
important gap of information was formed for the following generations.
The attempts for revival required thoroughly new efforts and these
efforts could not be a substitution for the traditional training passing
from one generation to the next.
To buy some Turkish tiles,ceramics click out http://www.lesartsturcs.com
or to have some more info about Turkish tiles check out http://www.turkish-tiles.com
Source: Antika, The Turkish Journal of Collectable Art, October 1985,
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