In the early 16th century, the potters of Iznik developed one of the most beautiful ceramics ever made. They created vessels and tiles out of a pure white body, which provided a glowing ground to a lively range of colours. Blue and turquoise were the first colours used, and later the characteristic Iznik palette – in use since the mid-16th century – included a bold red and emerald green.
This jug, on the other hand, exemplifies the subtle and harmonious palette of the middle period. Purples, soft sage-green and deep blue, each outlined in a sharp black, were in use from the 1530s to the 1560. The sprays of tulips and roses against a blue ground, demonstrates the richness of this colour scheme. The representation of plants in this example is still rather simplified - a more naturalistic approach would coincide with the introduction of the later palette.
Allan, James W., Islamic Ceramics, Ashmolean-Christie's Handbooks (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1991), no. 45 on p.70, illus. p. 71
Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 24 May 2006-23 December 2008, Treasures: Antiquities, Eastern Art, Coins, and Casts: Exhibition Guide, Rune Frederiksen, ed. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2006), no. 222 on p. 79, illus. p. 79
Atasoy, Nurhan, and Julian Raby, Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, ed. Yanni Petsopoulos (London: Alexandria Press in association with Laurence King, 1994), no. 348, fig. 348
fritware, underglaze painting
Ceramic material composed of ground quartz and small quantities of clay and finely ground frit (frit is obtained by pouring molten glass into water).
Painting applied to ceramic material before a transparent, or monochrome or coloured glaze for Islamic objects, is applied. The technique was initially developed in China.
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