Tile panel in form of a tympanum

Unknownc. 1573

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Lisboa, Portugal

This piece belongs to a series of almost a dozen identical panels from the 'Piyale Pasha' mosque in Istanbul. After an earthquake had damaged the building it was restored but the panels were dismantled and substituted by painted murals, which meant they came onto the market at the end of the nineteenth century. The series is currently dispersed around a number of European museums.
The central composition in various colours is framed by stylised cloud scrolls forming a serpentine ribbon that encloses a lotus flower, in a trilobed loop. From the central motif spirals of slender branches with leaves, blossom buds and 'hatayi' motifs unfold (festoons of flowers of Chinese inspiration). The utilisation of the same, highly dynamic, decorative scheme on all the tympanums, leads to the assumption that an identical design, probably created by the imperial palace workshops, was used for all.


  • Title: Tile panel in form of a tympanum
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: c. 1573
  • Location Created: Turkey, Iznik, Ottoman period
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 71 x W. 142 cm
  • Medium: Stonepaste, painted under the glaze

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