Islamic Arts


The spectacular tilework of the Timurid period, decorating the architecture of Central Asia and Iran, sheathing domes, facades and minarets in a glittering shell, is among the finest ceramic production of the 15th century. A variety of techniques were employed in this decoration, including underglazed painted tiles, ‘cuerda seca’, mosaic faience and inset technique.  Mosaic faience revealed its greatest strength in cursive designs, such as arabesques, floral sprays and ‘thulth’ inscriptions; for massive exterior inscriptions, an arrangement of glazed bricks known as ‘bannai’ were often used.

The use of mosaic and ‘cuerda seca’ tile decoration began to used in Ottoman mosques, which was developed in the 16th century with the use of Iznik tiles. These tiles came to surpass pottery in terms of workmanship, being used for large scale panels of square or rectangular tiles with elaborate floral schemes . . .

Source:- “The Timeline History of Islamic Art and Architecture” by Nasser D. Khalili.

Photo above:- Iznik tiles from the Mosque of Rustem Pasha, Istanbul, 1561 CE. Source:- ‘The Art of Ottoman Ceramics’ by Walter B. Denny.