Safavid Tiles

Unknown maker17th century

Huntington Museum of Art

Huntington Museum of Art

The Safavids, rivals of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, were Shiite Muslims who ruled Iran from 1502 to 1706. Their public buildings were adorned with ceramic tiles, applied to mosques, hospitals, and mausoleums as well as palaces and, in later times, private homes. This panel of tiles depicts ibexes pursued by hunting dogs in a landscape of birds, trees, and flowers, with an arabesque border. It is painted in a technique known as cuerda seca, Spanish for "dry cord." To prevent the colored glazes from running into each other during firing, they were separated by lines of a greasy substance combined with manganese. These burned off in the firing, leaving a matte line that has a cord-like appearance.

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  • Title: Safavid Tiles
  • Creator: Unknown maker
  • Date: 17th century
  • Location: Iran
  • Physical Dimensions: w28 x h37.5 in.
  • Dynasty: Safavid
  • Credit Line: Gift of Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma
  • Type: ceramic
  • Medium: glazed earthenware