Iznik Pottery: A Turkish Delight
Iznik pottery, named after the town in western Anatolia where it was made, is a decorated ceramic that was produced from the last quarter of the 15th century until the end of the 17th century.
In the latter half of the 15th century, following the fall of Constantinople and the establishment of the Ottoman Court in the former capital of the Byzantine Empire, many areas of artistic production enjoyed a renewal of forms following the fuller involvement of a court whose patronage was particularly evident in the arts. This courtly demand also seems to have given rise to the production of ceramic wares of great technical perfection, designed for a new elite eager for luxury objects.
The town of Iznik was an established centre for the production of simple earthenware pottery, but craftsmen in the town began to manufacture high quality pottery painted cobalt blue under a colourless lead gaze. The meticulous designs combined traditional Ottoman arabesque patterns with Chinese elements.
Iznik tile production started to boom around the mid-sixteenth century and was stimulated and controlled by court commissions. These ceramic designs, like the Ottoman architectural style that came to assert itself in these provincial towns, are all echoes of the evolution of forms and tastes that spread from the capital of the Empire to the provinces.