iznik - iznic kapak


March 2019

ISBN:     978-605-85545-3-5

Translation to English

Ceren Vuruşkan

Graphic design and digital applications.

Karma Grafik

İlker Mazı

e-mail:  ilker@karmafikir.com

Web design and management 

Aybars Oruç



Book cover design

Idil Demirel


e-mail:    iznikseramikleri@gmail.com

Phone: +90 533 2317270



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In this period we are analysing, almost one fourth of Europe is controlled by Ottomans. Local people here and people in neighbouring countries are Christians. Non-Muslims have “unlimited” right to live on Ottoman land.   Sustaining such lifestyle is only possible with mutual concessions and cultural mixture. However, fear, feeling secure, individual interest, desire to rise led this people to change their religions. If you can engrain mutual trust, common life will be unproblematic. Ottomans have achieved this. For example, Jewish people saw the safest places on earth as Ottoman and Turkish land from 1500s to 1950s.

40% of Ottoman people were real Christians and 20% were devshirmeh who converted to Islam. Ottoman also knew that pressure on religion can cause an unpredictable reaction. An old Ottoman proverb is “Let the snake lives 1000 years without touching me…” This expression can be applied on both sides. Actually, this proverb has remaining part for Ottomans: “…but people must pay taxes tribute without any delay.”

This country has 50,000km coastal line (world is 40,000km). Although Mediterranean countries and surrounding countries fought from time to time, these countries have found a way to make agreement with mutual compromises due to economic pressure. Neither religion nor lifestyle was the main factor of this peace. Peace was only connected with economic reasons.

Purpose to transport richness of Far East to Europe and commercial profits of this act both caused wars and prevented wars. If we apply this political and commercial logic today, we can observe the following slogan. “Win-win”

In the first 2 sections of this book, activities of Ottoman Empire to realise this goal, administrative organisations, fairness mechanism that distributed equally without discrimination, sense of trust across the country, and physical infrastructure are explained.

In 3rd and 4th sections, distribution of İznik ceramic art to Europe from the beginning of 16th century, turning this art to a fashion trend in Europe, and inevitably, imitation of this art by European artists under value and support to art and artist framework is presented to my readers by making comparison with examples and documents.

Until today, there is no comprehensive book on İznik imitations. As in my first book “Secrets Under Underglaze” that explained historical development of İznik ceramics, I believe “İznik & İznic” book will be the “first significant source” to my valuable readers who are interested in this subject. However, I am recommending to read this book with scientific and visual support of “Secrets Under Underglaze” book. Only this way, you can learn secret and journey of İznik ceramics in all aspects.

Mete Demirel








I would like to thank to Zagreb Mimara Museum Director Tugomir Luksic and Mimara Museum Coordinator Milica Japundžić, Turkolog Dr. Vesna Miovic in Crotian Science and Art Academy History Institutions, Prof.Dr. Alberto Piccini who shared his extensive knowledge on Italian ceramic history, and Marçal Martí Salvadó who helped us to find only İznik copy manufactured in China. I would like to express my gratitudes to Prof. Maria Pia Pedani, Prof.Hakkı Acun, Prof.Lütfü Güçer, Prof. Mehmet Bulut, Prof. Ahmet Tabakoğlu, Prof. Recep Mesut, Prof. İsmail Yardımcı, Doç.Faruk Bal, Ruhi Duman, Nurullah Karta, Kerim Sert, Serap Mumcu, Azmi Özcan, Cabir Doğan, Sheila Forbes, Renard Gluzman and Engin Yenal as well as Dear Enver Behnan Şapolyo, Prof. Halil İnalcık and Prof. Ömer Lütfü Berkan who have left us.

Additionally, I would like to thank my brother Burak Demirel for his translation support in Italian language, my cousin Aybars Oruç who provided me his technical support for years, İlker Mazı who contributed to visuals with his graphical design knowledge, ’to my 8-year old daughter  İdil Demirel who contributed to cover art with her İznik ceramic plate work, and Ceren Vuruşkan for her original English language translation.

Also, I can’t thank my father Erkan Demirel enough who has guided me in this process and contributed with his intensive research…

Mete Demirel


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Main topic and purpose of this book was to analyse whether İznik tiles and ceramics were used in Europe at the end of 15th century and what was the first date that European artists imitated these work.

Therefore, we need to analyse European economy and trade linked with Ottoman Empire which was living a fast, powerful expansion policy era.

During this period, mercantilist idea was dominant in European states. Principles mercantilist practices can be listed as follows.

  1. 1.   Increasing income of central government.
  2. 2.   Develop practices and policies to keep gold and silver mines within the country borders.
  3. 3.   Encourage local industry with low taxes in domestic trade.
  4. 4.   Keeping foreign trade balance positive by taking precautions to encourage export.

Western Mercantilist states have realised all precautions to strengthen their national industry and economy during 16-18th centuries while Ottoman adopted “economy of abundance” within “open door” policy. As a result of this policy, while there was abundance of goods and money in Ottomans, local industry lacked protection. On the other hand, European mercantilists applied all protective precautions to strengthen national industry.  (Prof.Dr.Mehmet Bulut “XVII. Century Ottomans and Mercantilists”)

Ottoman Empire generally adopted a policy that assigned local management for regional practices and collect annual taxes (jizya/tribute) based on economic potential of the region. All facilitator factors were provided to local traders to keep regional and local trade balance. These practices were first conducted based on oral promises. However, over time, these practices turned into written contracts called “Pacts” that were renewed by each new sultan. These documents were known as “capitulations” in Ottoman history.




Traders of countries that have Pacts had privileged status within Ottoman state and unless these traders violate Ottoman laws and regulations, their goods and lives were protected by the state and state guaranteed that these traders will not face any additional taxes other than customs taxes. In short, traders were given the best conditions to trade on Ottoman land. However, as the time passed, capitulations which Ottoman Empire has great economic and political hopes turned into a weapon that shot the Empire.(Ruhi Duman. “Harbour Cities During Ottoman Period”)

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1500 – 1865


It is necessary to examine Iznik imitations in two periods. Before Cluny Museum and after Cluny Museum. What are the features of this Cluny Museum?

Auguste Salzmann was Rhodes consulate of France as well as an archaeologist, missionary, and a historical artefact smuggler. He was intrigued with these İznik ceramic objects in Rhodes. First, he thought these ceramics were produced there. Because some canny Rhodes merchants signed the bottom of these objects with their own name. What is more, they have changed these signatures for couple of times and new fake artists emerged. (image 183, 184)

In time, Auguste Salzmann noticed this trick. But, who did produce these objects and when. Consulate find an appropriate answer to this question. These ceramics were produced in Iran. He started to collect these ceramics on the island. Also, he notified French government on this matter. Government approved a collection for Cluny Museum and offered monetary support. 532 “Iranian ceramic objects” were collected. Starting from 1865, these collections for delivered to the Museum in batches. Probably, Auguste Salzmann earned good money from this trade.

After exhibiting these objects in the museum, these objects attracted attention of European ceramic artists and these artists started to imitate these objects. Increasing demand led important firms of that period to produce İznik imitations. This trend continued until World War I. 

The proof that these ceramics were produced by Iznik was not accepted until the 1960s

Therefore, we have to examine Iznik imitations which are our subject in two parts historically.

1- Imitations before Cluny Museum       1500 – 1865

2- Imitations after Cluny Museum          1865 – 1915

When analysing İznik imitations in Europe between 1500-1865, we would like to emphasise that we should start with 13th century Mediterranean history and follow a chronological order.

First examples are seen in Italy due to bilateral relations. From 1200s, Italian City States have expanded their relationships with Constantinople and Anatolia in Byzantine era.


Bilateral communication with Ottoman Empire that started in 14th century had triggered commercial relationships and cultural transfers started especially with shipping trade.  

Therefore, we need to have a closer look to the commercial and political relationships between Ottoman Empire and Mediterranean City States. Furthermore, we should elaborate relationships with some states in detail.

Except Republic of Ragusa, all of these city states are in Italy and they disappeared from the stage of history and their relations with the Ottoman Empire naturally ended after Napoleon conquered them in 1797.

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Liguria Region, probably Savona production.

h:19 – Ø: max.12.2 cm.

(Source: Albarello with vegetal decoration)

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Although Siena is one of the most important settlements of Central Italy, this city was behind Florence, Motelupo, Faenza, Gubbio and Deruta in terms of ceramic production.

Especially form and quality of albarello productions are striking. From 1450, we can see these quality ceramics.

However, Siena ceramic have different motifs than İznik influence. This pattern which we cannot see in any Italian ceramic workshop in the same period is “knot” motifs that we can see in İznik productions between 1500-1510. Application dates in Siena was same as well.

Probably an İznik object with knot figure was brought to Siena by merchants of Florence and this motif attracted attention of local ceramic artists (image 71, 72, 73, 74, 74)…

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…To clearly see this application, both plates are combined and presented to readers.(image 189)


In Cantagalli imitations, we can see Cantagalli artists carefully imitated the motifs.

 Continue in the book…