Tile Spandrel with Floral Sprays

Tile Spandrel with Floral Sprays

c. 1570-1575

Fritware with red slip and underglaze-painted design

Overall: 76 x 29.9 x 2.5 cm (29 15/16 x 11 3/4 x 1 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 2004.70

Description

This rare Turkish tile spandrel reveals the artistic and technical height achieved in Iznik, the town which manufactured tiles for imperial buildings of the Ottoman sultans, rulers of one of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful empires in history (1270s-1924). Iznik tiles are renowned for their brilliant colors, especially the intense red - a technical triumph achieved with a thick slip. Here, it forms red roses - each petal executed with exemplary control - amidst prunus blossoms and intertwining leaves in the mature floral style. Such radiant floral sprays evoked eternal spring and visions of paradise. Originally this spandrel and its matching right half (now missing) formed a beautifully decorated arch over a niche, window, or doorway in Istanbul, Turkey.

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