Date: A.H. 824/ A.D. 1421

Geography: From Turkey, Bursa

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Tempered earthenware; molded; polychrome glazed within black wax resist outlines (cuerda seca technique); gilded

Dimensions: H. 11 1/2 in. (29 cm)
W. 6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm)
D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Tiles

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.246


This tile matches a border frieze adorning the portal of the tomb of Sultan Mehmed I (r. 1403–21) in Bursa, where monuments were badly damaged in an 1855 earthquake. It has a deeply carved pattern of lattices formed by pairs of undulating vine scrolls that meet at regular intervals along the centerline. The interlacing of the arabesque lattices is complex, but clarity is achieved through the use of different colored glazes. The tile predates the period, later in the fifteenth century, of widespread Chinese influence on Ottoman Turkish ceramics. In its deep relief and choice of colors, it exhibits similarities to tiles of Timurid Central Asia dating from the late fourteenth century, a resemblance probably explained by the documented presence of Persian tileworkers in Bursa at that time.