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Ottoman period (1299-1922)




About 1575


Frit body, underglaze polychrome decoration, transparent glaze


6.8 cm (h.), 33 cm (diam.)


Purchase, gift of Harry A. Norton, inv. 1939.Dp.19


Archeology and World Cultures

In the late 15th century, the Ottomans established a royal atelier known as the nakkaşhane, meaning “house of design.” The existence of such a court-sponsored institution explains the stylistic unity of Ottoman art across all media, including the famous ceramics produced at Iznik based on court atelier designs. In its early stages, both the colour and design of Iznik ware reflected the influence of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain widely admired in the Muslim world. However, in tandem with the introduction of new colours, Iznik ware evolved its own signature designs. In the 16th century, the ware was at its height and displayed two main styles, each one associated with a head court designer. Shah Kulu developed the distinctive style referred to as saz or hatayi, characterized by long feather-like leaves and stylized floral palmettes. His student and successor, Kara Memi created another distinct type of floral design based on real varieties of flowers cultivated at the time. This Iznik plate, whose free-flowing floral design conveys the sensation of a cool fresh garden, illustrates the Kara Memi style.

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