Turkish Tiles - Origin and History

Turkish Tiles - Origin and History

The Turkish Tiles have a long and rich history. They have been around for more than 5000 years and are still being used today.

The earliest examples of Turkish tiles date back to 5000 BC. In the beginning, they were mainly used for decoration purposes in homes and temples.

In the late 1800s, the Ottoman Empire started to use them as roofing tiles on buildings. This is because they were inexpensive, durable, and easy to lay down on roofs without any need for mortar or other binding material.

 Turkish Tiles

Iznik has a historical importance in both Roman and Ottoman periods. After Constantine I convened the first council of Nicaea here, which adopted the Christian doctrines, Iznik became the birthplace of the first Christian principles.

Iznik is so synonymous with Turkish pottery that it is often considered the capital of tiles. But, like many other ancient cities, Iznik found its true identity in being part of Islamic civilisation. From 1331 to 1920, potters added more Arabic symbols and elements to their designs.

At the peak of Sinan's career as a master builder, during the 16th century, Istanbul was home to some of the finest example of classical Ottoman architecture. People believed that it was he who guided these projects and workshops during this golden era.

When Iznik tiles first came to be, they were not decorated and served as mainly simple building materials. Their popularity with builders increased later when they became more colorful and elaborately designed.

When we speak of olts in the Ottoman Empire, we think about the bold patterns, rich colors and distinctive shapes that many people associate with Turkish carpets. The Islamic culture had introduced various Middle Eastern features in the design and color usage of these pieces. Ottoman potters were influenced by Chinese ceramic motifs from as early as 1300s until 1530s.

Similarly, in the early periods, Tabriz pottery (Iranian) influence can be seen in historical artefacts. Craftsman from Tabriz contributed to the structures and design of Bursa and Edirne.

Turkish Tiles

After the conquest of Istanbul, Ottoman Empire style established aesthetics that were a beautiful fusion of different styles. They applied this same creativity to their carpet and patterns as well.

The person who combined the Chinese art of Hatayi with that of the Byzantine style called Rumi and produced a new style was called Baba Nakkaş. This revolutionary work ushered in a new period for Iznik tiles and their fame spread around the world.

It was obvious why Iznik was such a prosperous tile-making centre - their abundant siliceous soil is perfect for making them. During the Ottoman Sultan's enrichment period, the increased demand from Istanbul singles could not be met with local production alone.

In the magnificent 16th century, distinctive artworks were created for use in mosques and on dinnerware.

Iznik workshops in this era have been able to come up with new ways to get things done; they've utilized their tasks with more creativity to make tiles more enticing and glamorous. The tiles were produced in blue and white using both tin oxide and manganese oxide. In 1530, turquoise was added, followed by olive brown and light purple in 1540. Finally, tomato red tiles were used from 1550 onwards. This color became popular because it was associated with wealth and abundance.

Tiles that formerly decorated mosques, mausoleums and palaces during the Ottoman Empire’s heydey have faded in popularity as they empire has stopped expanding. Large mosques such as the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and Sehzade Mosque in Ankara are not being rigged with the loot collected after conquests.

With the decline of tile production after the 17th century, Kutahya became a new center of tile production. Although Kutahya tiles were never able to elevate to the heights achieved by Iznik tiles, they still reached new levels of greatness on their own.

Iznik tiles are still one of the finest examples of how traditional craftsmanship can continue to be utilized in modern architecture.

If you love these patterns and you are drawn by them, then you can get check our Turkish Tiles Collection


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