Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet)
Hegira last quarter of 10th century / AD last quarter 16th century
Ceramic; painted and glazed.
Height 5.5 cm, diameter 30.5 cm
The Iznik pottery dish decorated in cobalt-blue, thin pale green and relief red, with black outlines on a white background shows at the centre a dense floral design. The entire dish is treated as a single decorative surface. The flowers – red dotted tulips and carnations, a peony and a hyacinth spray falling across the centre of the plate – emerge from a leafy tuft and are adapted by curved and broken stems to suit the scale and surface of the dish. This style is called 'quatre fleurs' after the four principal types of flowers, the tulip, carnation, rose and hyacinth. It was promoted by the court painter Kara Memi in the second half of the AH 10th / AD 16th century and shows a greater realism in floral depiction than earlier styles. Feathered saz leaves combined with flowering sprays as can be seen next to the peony or with a simple leaf as above the tuft is a development of the last quarter of AH 10th / AD 16th century.
The floral design at the centre of the dish is framed with a stylised Chinese wave-and-rock border on a flat sloping rim. The Chinese-influenced type of foliated rim, used together with the wave-and-rock motif, had been given up in the second half of the AH 10th / AD 16th century because of its costly freehand cutting.
On the back the dish is painted with four blue-coloured spiral motifs alternating with four green trefoils on a white background. The transparent slightly turquoise glaze covers the back and bottom except for the foot-ring.
Polychrome painted Iznik pottery dish. At the centre there is a dense floral design of various flowers of the so-called ‘quatre fleurs’ style emerging from a leafy tuft. The flat rim is decorated with a stylised Chinese wave-and-rock motif.
The 'quatre fleurs' style was a development of the second half of the 10th / 16th century, and the feathered saz leaves combined with flowering sprays was a development of the last quarter of that century. The dish seems to be not later than the 10th / 16th century because of the careful painted design and the fine quality of its glaze and colours.
Purchased with government funds from the collection of F. R. Martin.
The floral decoration and the shape are both specific for Iznik ceramics.
Atasoy, N. and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989.
Carswell, J., Iznik Pottery, London, 1998.
Müller-Wiener, M., Türkisch-Osmanische Keramik, Traunstein, 2004.
Friederike Voigt "Dish" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;se;Mus01;17;en
Prepared by: Friederike VoigtFriederike Voigt
Friederike Voigt has an MA in Iranian studies, history of art and social science and is currently working on her doctoral thesis on wall tiles in architectural decoration of Qajar Iran. Since 2004 she has been a project-related curator at the Museum for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm for Museum With No Frontiers. She studied at Humboldt University in Berlin, at the University of Tehran and archaeology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. She taught Persian language at several universities in Germany. She was an assistant curator at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Cultures at the Museum of Ethnology, State Museums of Berlin. Her main fields of interest are the material culture of Iran, especially of the Qajar period, and contemporary Iranian art.
Copyedited by: Monica Allen
MWNF Working Number: SE 18