late 16th century
stonepaste body, stencilled and decorated underglaze in cobalt blue, green and bole red
26 x 27.5cm
The tile is decorated with bold arabesques filled with prunus sprays, feathery leaves and composite chinoiserie lotuses filled with prunus blossoms, tulips and other flowers.
The discovery that the slip known as Armenian bole, often used as a base for gilding, produced a rich tomato-red colour when applied under a glaze marked a crucial development in the history of Ottoman ceramics. It was first used in tilework for the mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent in Istanbul (inaugurated 1557). For the next 50 or 60 years, the Ottoman court virtually monopolised the production of tiles for royal palaces and pious foundations.
J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.373, p.315.