• Persia, Timurid period, 14th century
  • Ceramic, 'cuerda seca' technique
  • Inv. 1728


The cuerda seca [dry-cord] technique enables several colours to be combined on a single tile. Developed in Persia during the 14th 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.


Madrid 2001

Un jardín encantado. Arte islámico en la Colección Calouste Gulbenkian, exhibition catalogue. Madrid: Fundación Santander Central Hispano, 2001, pp. 40–1, no. 6.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 38, cat. 21.

Updated on 22 april 2022

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