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Stonepaste 'Golden Horn' bottle

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Height: 43.200 cm

Bequeathed by John Henderson

ME OA 1878.12-30.519

Room 34: The Islamic world

    Stonepaste 'Golden Horn' bottle

    Ottoman, about AD 1530
    From Iznik, modern Turkey

    This tall elegant bottle is made from stonepaste, with underglaze-painted spiral decoration in cobalt blue and turquoise. The distinctive spiral pattern is known as 'Golden Horn', after excavations in the 1900s on the southern shore of the Golden Horn estuary in Istanbul uncovered pieces decorated in this style. The name has remained, even though it is no longer believed that they were actually produced at the site. In fact, 'Golden Horn' wares were made from the 1520s onwards at both Iznik and Kutahya, the main Ottoman production-centres of luxury ceramics. The fine spiral coils also occur in Ottoman manuscript illumination, on chancery documents bearing the sultan's official monogram or tugra.

    Both the form and the spiral pattern of this bottle may derive from fifteenth-century Islamic metalwork. Timurid metalwork was brought to the Ottoman treasuries as booty from an important victory over the Safavids of Iran in 1514, shortly before the spiral pattern began to appear in Ottoman pottery and illumination.

    N. Atasoy and J. Raby, Iznik: the pottery of Ottoman (London, Alexandria Press, 1989)

    J.M. Rogers and R. Ward, Suleyman the Magnificent (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)

    J. Carswell, Iznik pottery (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)


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    On display: Room 34: The Islamic world

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    Iznik pottery, £10.99

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