A very pleasant and colorful pottery tile, of square form and with two rectangular ‘grips’ on the back in order to make it easier to fix on a wall as part of the decoration of a building. The surface is covered by a vivid and contrasting polychrome glaze with a floral decoration showing scrolling tendrils and budding floral sprays: on an opaque white ground (based on tin oxide) we see a turquoise blue (based on copper oxide), a cobalt blue, green (based on copper oxide) and a vivid yellow (based on tin and lead oxides). To prevent the colors from fusing together during the firing, the colors are separated from each other by a thin line of manganese carbonate: the ‘cuerda seca’. The 12mm thick body is red clay.
Damages at the corners and chipped off body. 19,2 x 19,2 cm, thickness of the tile 12 mm (with extensions 24 mm). Weight 1061 gram. Timurid period, central Asia (Samarkand?), 15th century.
Further reading: Bernard O’Kane, The Development of Iranian Cuerda Seca Tiles and the Transfer of Tilework Technology in Blair S. and Bloom J., And Diverse Are Their Hues: Color in Islamic Art and Culture, New Haven 2011, p.175-203.
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