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Simon Ray: Indian & Islamic Works of Art

CARTOUCHES AND FLORAL SPRAYS
Turkey (Iznik)
1570-1580
Height: 24.4 cm
Width: 24.6 cm

An underglaze painted polychrome tile in shades of emerald green, cobalt blue and sealing wax red or Armenian bole against an off white ground.  The rhythmical design groups composite lotus flowers with saz leaves, carnations, tulips and stylised rosettes between cusped cartouche borders.

The flowing floral pattern covers the white ground in a variety of stylised sprays and leaves, the largest of which are a group of composite lotuses in shades of dappled cobalt blue with rich red centres and green leaves.  Swirling saz leaves surround the flowers which all appear from stems rising from the bottom of the tile. Framing this design to either side are parts of large cusped cartouches with raised red borders which to the right enclose twisting sprays of tulips, carnations and rosettes with further dollops of rich sealing wax red.

Examples of the same design can be seen in Ribeiro, M. Iznik Pottery and Tiles in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection, 2009, p.126; Bilgi, H. Dance of Fire: Iznik Tiles and Ceramics in the Sadberk Hanim Museum and Omer M. Koc Collections, 2009, p.221 and Ertuğ, A and Denny, W. Gardens of Paradise: 16th Century Turkish Ceramic Tile Decoration, 1998, p. 177 where they are in situ at the mosque of Takieci Ibrahim Aga in Istanbul.

Exhibited and Published:
The Unity of Islamic Art, An exhibition of Islamic Art at the Islamic Art Gallery, The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1985, pp.156-157, no. 137b.

Provenance:
Robert Strauss was a discerning collector with eclectic taste and an eye for quality.  The collection that bears this name was the result of forty years of discriminating collecting from the 1930s onwards.  In the mid 1970s part of the Strauss Collection was sold at Christie’s and a number of sale catalogues document some of the principal categories of the collection, most notably Fabergé, Majolica and jewellery.  Typical of a connoisseur-collector of his generation, Strauss was also attracted to the unique qualities of Iznik pottery, and with the help of an academic dealer named Dr Schmidt, he put together a small but important group of Iznik tablewares and tiles, which have remained with his family up to the present day.  The Iznik pieces were loaned to an exhibition at The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1985, and some are reproduced in the exhibition catalogue, The Unity of Islamic Art, Westerham Press, Kent, England, 1985, pp. 152-157.

all text & images Simon Ray: Indian & Islamic Works of Art

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