Fritware dish, painted in blue and turquoise under a transparent glaze
Turkey, Iznik; c. 1530-1535
Diam: 35.5; H: 6.5 cm
The dish belongs to a small group of ceramics made in what is called the Potter’s Style.
The group was characterized by stylistic innovations and the use of turquoise as well as a return to older blue-and-white Iznik pottery in the Baba Nakkas style (see e.g. 93a/2003
). In this piece, this is first and foremost true of the rim’s intertwined palmette frieze, the cavetto’s six Chinese-inspired cloud ornaments, and the well’s outermost branches with flowers of different kinds.
The central motif is a tree with serpent-like branches from which a wealth of twigs emerge with little leaves and flowers not unlike the ones found in the period’s tughrakes style
). The tree is surrounded by an unusual, wavy contour in blue nuances that in turn is framed by a white, flaming aura that endows the entire dish with an emotional or spiritual expression. Only three dishes with a related theme are known from the period, and it should perhaps be seen in relation to the ancient and broadly interpretable motif “The Tree of Life,” which also plays a role in Sufism as the way to heaven or more profound understanding.
Inv. no. 18/2017
Hotel Drout, Paris, 16-17/5-1902, lot 115;
Bernard Rackham: Islamic pottery and Italian maiolica: illustrated catalogue of a private collection, London 1959, cat.no. 61, pl. 26;
Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby: Iznik: the pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London 1989, p. 117, fig. 168;
Sotheby’s, London, 19/10-2016, lot 295;
Christie’s, London, 27/4-2017, lot 156;