Iznik Dish

 
Part of the Illuminating Objects series: On display from 6 November 2013

 

This beautifully decorated dish was bequeathed to The Courtauld in 1966. It was made between 1560 and 1565 in the Ottoman city of Iznik (North-West Anatolia). The dish has a remarkable symmetrical pattern. It displays distinctive bole-red carnations and blossoms in harmony with the cobalt blue and turquoise tulips and hyacinths.

This Illuminating Object case study aims to use evidence from 16th-century lyrical poetry, travel narratives and mystical meditations to offer an interpretation of the symbolic and cultural meanings of the floral motifs on this Iznik dish.

The project is delivered by Laila El-Sayed with grateful acknowledgement to Prof. Donna Landry, University of Kent, and Prof. Mehmet Kalpakli, Department of History, Bilkent University, Turkey, as part of an inter-university Internship Programme, in partnership with research students from a variety of disciplines and institutions including SOAS, King’s College London, the University of Kent in Canterbury, Imperial College and University College London.

The project is delivered as part of an inter-university Internship Programme,  in partnership with research students from a variety of disciplines and institutions including SOAS, King’s College London, the University of Kent in Canterbury, Imperial College and University College London.

Acknowledgements
Prof. Donna Landry, University of Kent;

Prof. Mehmet Kalpakli, Department of History, Bilkent University, Turkey

References
Andrews, Walter G. and Mehmet Kalpakli (2005). The Age of the Beloved: Love and the Beloved in Early Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society (USA:Duke University Press Books)
Andrews, Walter G., Najaat Black and  Mehmet Kalpakli (2006). Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology (University of Washington Press)
Atasoy, Nurhan and Julian Raby (1989). Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey (London: Alexandria Press)
Dash, Mike (2001). Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. (New York: Three Rivers Press).
Faroqhi, Suraiya ( 2009 ). Artisans of Empire: Crafts and Craftspeople Under the Ottomans (London: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd)
Rumi, Jalal Al-Din (c.1273 ). Rumi The Mesnavi: Book One. (trans.) Jawid Mojaddedi. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. 2004. James, David (1974). Islamic Art: An Introduction (London: The Hamlyn Publishing Group)
Piotrovsky, Mikhail B and (ed.) Vrieze, John (2000). Art of Islam: Heavenly Art, Earthly Beauty. Amsterdam: Lund Humphries Publishers)
Renard,  John (2009). The A to Z of Sufism. (Plymouth: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.)
The Life and Letters of  Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. (eds. and trans.) Foster, Charles Thornton and F.H. Blackburne Daniell  (New York: Cambridge University Press) Vol.1, Letter I, p. 107-110`
Travels in the Levant: The Observations of Pierre Belon du Mans (1553). (ed.) Merle, Alexandra. (trans.) Hogarth, James (UK: Harding Simpole). Chapter 51,  p. 469

Ottoman Gardens Through European Eyes

The floral genre of Iznik ceramics fascinated 16th-century European travellers. Their comments on the meaning of flowers and gardens in the Ottoman culture can help us understand why Iznik artisans favoured floral motifs.

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The ‘Quatre Fleurs’

Within 16th century Ottoman culture, gardens were both spiritual and intellectual spaces. Gardens were places for the religious scholars (meclis-i ulema) to study and contemplate the marvels of Allah the Creator.

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The Whirling Flowers

The symmetrical floral composition on the dish is one of the most marked features of a number of Iznik plates of the period between 1550-1565.

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