In the Turkish art, one of the most important elements of interior and exterior architectural ornamentation is glazed tiling decoration. The concepts of the tile and ceramic are not different in terms of their clays and method of forming. Tile is the term generally used for the wall decors in the architectural decoration, while ceramic is the term mostly used for the decoration of tools.
After the Seljuks, in the 14th century and with the inclusion of fewer adornments, the tile embellishments were also lessened. In the beginning, geometrically decorated mosaic tiles that continue the tradition of the Seljuks were included at some buildings.
The Ottoman Beylik, which was ruling in Iznik (Nicea), gained strength towards the end of the 14th century and began to collect various beyliks in Anatolia under its own rule. In the 16th century, the border of Ottoman State expanded from the Balkans to the Near East, and turned into a strong empire. Tiles were used commonly at the religious structures such as mosques, madrasas, masjids, and imarets as well as the civil architectural monuments such as palaces, kiosks, houses, libraries, bath and fountains which were constructed in the period from the 15th century to the end of the 17th century. They are applied in the buildings, on the walls, belts, pediments of windows, altars, gravestones and exteriors of the buildings, at the narthexes of mosques and fountains. In the Ottoman period, the application of tiles in the dome was not practices at all. In addition to the traditional motifs such as geometrical decoration, rumis and palmettos; thin curved branches, ivy motifs, garden flowers such as roses, tulips, cloves, hyacinths, sprigs, vegetal motifs such as cypress trees, manuscripts with sulus calligraphy, verses of the Quran, a Chintamani motif, the geometrical décor from Seljuk art, traditional motifs such as Rumi and palmetto, and leopard dots were used. The Ottoman monuments with tiles were concentrated in the cities such as Iznik, Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul, which were the capital cities of the Ottomans. Especially, Iznik tried to meet the tile requirements of the empire as the actual tile and ceramic production central between the 15th-17th centuries. Kutahya was the second most important production center that supports Iznik.
Ersoy, A. (2008). Traditional Turkish Arts. Ankara: Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2008.
Dish, Iznik, Turkey, about 1560-1565, V&A Museum, London
Vase, Iznik, Turkey, about 1575, V&A Museum, London