Historical Reference

Egyptian and Syrian Tile in the University Museum Philadelphia

Egyptian and Syrian Tile in the University Museum Philadelphia

Egyptian and Syrian Tile in the University Museum Philadelphia

"Among the minor arts nothing fulfills the purpose of Arabic Art or expresses Arabic taste more faithfully than the tiles that decorated the walls of palaces and mosques and that sometimes provided the exterior finish of mosque, mausoleum, fountain or palace. The Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem will be recalled as a magnificent example of the use of glazed and coloured tiles to cover the exterior of a building. The more frequent application of this decorative covering was on interior walls, especially of mosques, but also of palaces. The fabrication of tiles was cultivated at Cairo, Damascus, in Persia and in Samarkand frcm the 11th century. The tiles of Persia and of Samarkand are easily distinguished both as to design and as to technical process employed in the making. The Egyptian and the Syrian tile represent a common industry and a common product distinguished from the products of Persia on the one hand and those of Samarkand on the other. Till the beginning of the seventeenth century Damascus and Cairo were making tiles of good quality and the industry was passed on to Broussa and Kutahia and other parts of Asia Minor where factories were established for supplying tiles for the mosques of Constantinople. The brilliant enamelled tiles known as Rhodian were products of these Asia Minor industries, such as that found at Isnik.Egyptian and Syrian Tile in the University Museum Philadelphia

The Egyptian and Syrian tile presents a flat surface painted in blue with graceful scrollwork and conventionalized foliage and flowers, all spread on a white or creamy ground and covered with a thick transparent glaze. In the Asia Minor factories the same methods obtained except that in the tile known as Rhodian, the design is produced by coloured enamels—blue and red which are laid separately on the stamped matrix of clay and afterwards finished with a thin overglaze. In Spain a similar process succeeded earlier processes about the middle of the 16th century and was practised till the middle of the 17th century."
Arabic Art By George Byron Gordon In University of Pennsylvania The Museum Journal Volume XIII The University Museum Philadelphia 1922

 JBOC: First of all these tiles are clearly in the Ottoman period. While they are attractive and well drawn when I compare them to the best of Iznik Tiles they come-off as provincial Ottoman which of course by that time they were.

ref. Guide to Mamluk Art and Iznik Tile and Plates the O'Connell Guide

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