The Blue-and-White Tiles of the Muradiye in Edirne: Architectural Decoration between Tabriz, Damascus, and Cairo

In: Muqarnas Online
Patricia Blessing Department of Art History, Pomona College, Claremont, CA

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In the second quarter of the fifteenth century, a new phenomenon appears in Ottoman architecture: tiles with blue-and-white decoration, associated with tile-makers from Tabriz. These tiles appear most prominently in the Muradiye in Edirne, completed in 839/1435-36. They mark the beginning of an aesthetic shift, away from black-line (or cuerda seca) tiles inspired by Timurid and Aqquyunlu models, toward the blue-and-white tiles and vessels of the so-called Baba Naqqaş style of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The mihrāb of the Muradiye features both kinds of tiles, thus illustrating this shift at its early stages. Within the parameters of an international Timurid style, the artistic production of this period (tile-work in particular) has been considered an offshoot of Timurid court patronage in eastern Iran and Central Asia. In the larger context of the fifteenth-century Islamic world, however, related tiles and vessels were also produced in Damascus and Cairo. This article examines the tiles of the Muradiye Mosque within the framework of artistic centers, the movements of motifs, objects, and makers, and their impact on architecture in the fifteenth-century Ottoman empire.

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