Başlangıç » General » Introduction


26 Mayıs 2012

Kapak volume 1 İng.



Translation to English

Ceren Vuruşkan

Graduated from Istanbul Technical University


Robert C. Dean

Editor and Partial Text Translator /  Re-write to English

Baylor University, New York School of Interior Design, Parsons Private Summer School European Tour, The Attingham Summer School England, Appraisers Association of America, Appraisers Institute of America, American Society of Interior Desingn Associate, Appraising, designing and editing since 1967

Isbn: 978-605-85545-2-8

Graphic design and digital applications.

Karma Grafik

İlker Mazı


Web design and management 

Aybars Oruç




Phone: +90 533 2317270




                                            SHORT STORY OF THE BOOK & THANKS

Over 7 years of research in which we work and the topic is only “Iznik Ceramics” book is ready for publication. This nearly 700-page study, is a document to shed light on the history of Iznik ceramics between 1480-1680.

At the end of study and research on more than 2,000 Iznik ceramics, more than 1500 Yuan and Ming dynasty are China and Far Eastern ceramics, and 09th century-14th century more than 3,000 production of ceramic objects in Middle East region, until today wrongly known and / or unknown 32 different patterns, motifs and compositions for the “documents andevidence,” and proved “actual knowledge” were revealed.

Till this day errors in the dating, many commentators are trying to be compensated it by keeping a very wide range of “historical margins”. At the end of our research, 153 different criteria determined and dating periods of 5 years between 1520-1600. The periods 1480-1520 and 1600-1680 is 10 years.

The rate of incomplete and wrong information is more than 65% in the catalogs of Iznik ceramic collections museums and and major auction companies in the world. Factor that causes an abnormal ratio of the height, the lack of source work. Moreover, till this day, a lot of research and studies which are copy of each other, prevented access to the truth. Despite our long-term study, even 3% we still have questions about some pattern, motif and dating.

We hope that our research, will be a guide especially to antique lovers and anyone interested in Iznik ceramics.

In this 7 year study period, special thanks to very valuable scientists Prof. Dr. Gönül Kaynak, Prof. Dr. Orhan Küçüker, Prof. Dr. Ali Dönmez, Prof. Dr. Candan Terwiel, Doç. Dr. Hülya Doğru, Dr. Aslı Doğru Koca and Dr. Serap Savaş Işıkhan because of their knowledge and share their opportunities. Special thanks to İstanbul Armenian Patriarchate head secretary Mr. Vağarşak Seropyan and Mr. Sarkis Seropyan from Agos Newspaper because of their sentitive behavour and help of Armenian translation. Special thanks to Mr. Turgay Artam because of praise our study saying that “This study will shock the world.” study and help us for publication. Special thanks to Mrs. İnci Dallı from İznik Foundation. Special thanks to Mrs. Ayşe Erdoğru, Assistant Director in Topkapı Palace Museum. Special thanks to Mr. Serkan Gedük, Restorer-Art Historian, Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Department Responsible of Topkapı Palace Museum. Special thanks to ceramic artist Mr. İsmail Yiğit. Special thanks to president of Military Museum colonel Mr. Bülent Tütüncüoğlu, Special thanks to Mr. Nijat Ayvaz because of finding Ottoman tulip in nature, view and share his documents with us. Special thanks to Mr. İlker Mazı because of extremely careful with the graphics and design work gives added value to our study. Special thanks to Mr. Aybas Oruç because of by organizing the installation and management of our web sites, technical computer support for all 365/24. Special thanks Mrs. Ceren Vuruşkan who meticulously translate to englisih.

Special thanks to Associate Professor of the Practice of Fine Arts Mrs. Karen Koblitz, The University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Roski School of Fine Arts Faculty Senior Lecturer, Area Head. Who show us the way and spend a large collaborative effort for the organization of the book presentation and workshops in the USA. Special thanks to Mr. Robert Cameron Dean, American editor, checking our texts with great care and prepare it to published. Special thanks to Mrs. Patricia Atwood, ceramic appraiser and senior member of the board of directors ASA. Special thanks to Mr. Greg C. Brown, ceramic appraiser, will not forget the help and support of all types. Special thanks to Mr. John G. Ford, Asian ceramics consultant, appraiser, researcher and lecturer.

Special thanks to Sotheby’s Senior Director Head of Department Middle East and India Mr. Edward Gibbs because of ideas and support with visual documents and encourages our investigation. Special thanks to Oya Delahaye Sotheby’s Head Director in İstanbul Turkey. Special thanks to Mr. George Antaki valuable Iznik ceramic collector, Special thanks to Mr. Aaron Nommaz The Honorary Consul of Portugal, Special thanks to Mrs. Ayla Yazan, Second Secretary, The Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Lisbon. Special thanks to British Museum director Miss. Agatha Rutkowska, and Special thanks to Victoria & Albert Museum director Mr. Joe Plommer.

With our best Regards

Mete Demirel















When you blame your neigbour by showing your index finger, watch out for your three fingers showing yourself.

Indian Proverb















Iznik ceramics have been decorated and ornament by so highly talentent muralists over 200 years between 1480-1680. In order to need the palace for public, workshops were established in Iznik by the support of Ottoman Empire palace. Palace muralists examined the nature, plants and animals in a very meticulous and detailed way and decorated amazing Iznik ceramics. Unfortunately some scholars and academicians have not shown the meticulous and detailed work on our cultural heritage like the muralists.


After 7 years of scientific research, this book presents you all the false and incomplete definitions of Iznik ceramics with their evidence.


We invite you to discover “Secrets Under Underglaze” together.


Mete Demirel

Istanbul. 03.November.2012





















(The country of Turkey and its rich cultural history involve many cultural influences from both East and West and with origins begining approximately ten thousand years ago. The particular concern of this book and its author and research team chose to examine  specifically the historical period between the dates of 1480 and 1680. This  in-depth study and survey of these 200 years of early ceramic production follow the very origins, historical, cultural and artistic/decorative infuences found in nature or even from outside sources, from other lands, other people, other times. Izmik ceramics have been celebrated for thousands of years for this amalgamation of infuences, yet remaining totally individualistic in their own style, creativity and Turkish origins. ) İznik ceramics has a very privileged place in the world of antiques, and this 200-year segment of history of the Iznik ceramics will be discussed within four main periods in time. The purpose of this book is also to dispel any incorrect information from past academic sources, to show trends in the stylistic artistry that helps to date ceramics of these periods more correctly and to explain why author believes he is correct in his assumptions.  Knowing the chronology of motifs used in these early, ancient periods, hopefully, will assist colletors, dealers, auction houses and students of history and decorative arts in dating pieces one finds around the world. The science of dating anything is essential in an academic setting as well as the  commercial world.  Dating plays a vital role in properly describing and valuating any property.) These four main areas of discussion and historical periods highly influencing early Iznik Ceramics are listed as follows: :    açılan paranteze dikkat

1- Baba Nakkaş period                  1480-1535

2- Şah Kulu period                         1535-1557

3- Kara Memi period                       1557-1610

4- Falling and down period           1610-1680

Especially until 1585, Iznik ceramics workshops are mainly controlled by the palace and they worked so hard for the palace requirements. For the production plan, first the Nakkaşhane sends the pattern, control all the production phases, help to find the raw materials, and at the end maket he payment. Mimar Sinan, the chief architect of the palace also  responsible for Iznik workshops. It shows us that Iznik ceramics are how much importance for the palace. Iznik workshops are take care of the palace orders at the right time delivery. If they have free time, they will take orders out of palace.

“Dating criteria” is very important to investigate the periods, and to determine an accurate date. For example, several researchers did their comments by looking at the quality of the dough, glazing techniques, and the form of objects. since the 15th century, Iznik craftsmen start to using to add quartz to the dough, and they produced several trial objects in different quality, thinness, weight and form.  Try to dating by only looking at the raw condition of the potteries which produced between 1480-1550, error of the date rate is very high. Some of scholars and researces chose this way and they make big mistakes and fall into error when dating. Another and important mistake is there are too few publications about Iznik ceramics. Especially museums, auction houses and important collectors prepared their catalogues just by looking at a few resource books about Iznik which are published  between 1950-1990. So some of wrong information came to present day. Because the comments in these books are copies of each other and show no significant difference.

We have to pay attention to colors, compositions, patterns, motifs and forms of objects. Because these are the most important facts of the dating. Some colors used in certain periods. The palace master craftman and his team prepared and send patterns, motifs and compositions to Iznik.



The time of craftman’s living and working gives us an exact dating. Some motifs are historical signature. From time to time, Iznik craftmen and artist made special productions apart from palace. Also this is another fact that help us for dating.

One of the different and very important result in our research is about the patterns. The palace designers worked very hard on plant motifs when they prepared their compositions. Ants and caterpillars are on the branch, Leaf structure and flowers that seems in the nature are transferred to the object without error. Besides almost all the flowers are drawn with their original size. It shows us very clearly that the pattern is belong what kind of flower is it. So some of the flowers descriptions are wrong and this mistake came to present day

These wrong descriptions are not only seems in plant compositions, it seems also other important motifs. 32 patterns are explained in 63 different and incorrect well know names, and even some of the motifs are not noticed at all. The period of these 63 different and incorrect detection is as follows:

Baba Nakkaş Period: 27 different and incorrect detections.

Şah Kulu Period: 14 different and incorrect detections.

Kara Memi Period: 22 different and incorrect detections.

This book is the product of a study to answer these questions with all the evidences.

Details are very important when drawing the patters, for example you can see little ants and also ant’s sensors drawing on the branch of a flower which called rose until today. (Look at the uppest band on this page which ant application on the plate of the cross section) But why not seen any thorns?!… Why not drawn any thors? A daisy’s “Asteraceae” branches “feathery” structure drawing on an object which is an extremly hard practice (image 174), Why there is no thorn when drawing the rose?!…All of the above is to say that this flower is not, in fact, a rose.

For the readers to understand the period descriptions and all facts of informations easy and clearly, at the beginning of all sections under “Secrets Under Underglaze” they will see the correct descriptions with detail evidences about the wrong informations in that period.  At the second section, with this knowledge the reader has oportunity to make comments on the sample objects images. We worked very extremly fastidious when preparing the comments at the bottom of the image content for helping and showing all the details to the reader.

One of the most important problem we see is dating. The form of the object, quality of the dough, colors and motifs compositions, brush techniques, contour drawings, and dozens of different facts plays a role in terms of dating. To compansate the dating errors, auction houses keeping dating margin very wide. For example (The first half od 16th century, early 17th century, between 1550-1570). It also seens in museum catalogs. In our book Secrets under Underglaze, we identified and determined 153 dating criteria. At the end of the last section you can see the dating criteria table.  Looking at the dating criteria by this knowledge, it will be very easy to find the production date.

By this way, dating reduced 5 years period in between (1520-1600) this 80 years. Between (1480-1500) and (1600-1680) dating reduced 10 years period.

Despite all of this study, there are about 3% the answer still have not found the exact date and pattern.

Now by this knowledge we can go into periodic reviews.



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