In the late 15th century, the Turkish city of Iznik, south of Istanbul, became the center of production for one of the most distinctive types of ceramics in the Islamic world. Early Iznik wares, inspired by Chinese blue-and-white porcelain and celadon wares, employed blue as their primary color and reproduced motifs that were often drawn from a Far Eastern visual repertoire while also testing new decorative formulas.
This tondino—a type of plate with a broad, flat rim and small, bowl-shaped center—is a superb example of Iznik production of the first half of the 16th century. The style of decoration, dominated by leafy spirals, is generally called “Golden Horn,” a reference to numerous fragments with comparable motifs found on the southern shore of the Golden Horn, an inlet dividing Istanbul. By the mid-16th century, green, turquoise, purple, and a thick, vibrant red paint known as bolus armenus were incorporated to the palette of Iznik wares, along with new decorative motifs dominated by floral bouquets.