- Eastern Islamic Art
Persia, timurid period, 14th century
The cuerda seca (“dry-cord”) technique enables several colours to be combined on a single tile. Developed in Persia during the fourteenth century as a less costly substitute for mosaic, it is still used today.
The star-shaped decoration on this tile consists of a complex structure based on a stylised lotus-flower with ten petals. The centre is decorated with a six-point star and has traces of gilding. This star form combined with tiles in other shapes – pentagons, hexagons and other polygons – to create an elaborate geometrical pattern that normally had a twelve-point star at the centre.
The palette includes white, turquoise and manganese on a cobalt blue and gold ground. These tile panels decorated mosques and other religious buildings, helping to emphasise their symmetry and giving them a luxurious appearance.
Un jardín encantado. Arte islámico en la Colección Calouste Gulbenkian, exhibition catalogue, Madrid (Fundación Santander Central Hispano), 2001, p. 40-41, no. 6, colourpl.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – Album, Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 38, no. 21, colourpl.