Şehzade line

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The History of Iznik Tiles

Iznik Ceramics, containing abstract geometric, natural and floral patterns, were inspired by Eastern themes, but are also embellished by the artisans’ own virtuosity. The patterns of the tiles based on mathematical formula were codified over the years into a set of designs that have both symbolic and spiritual significance. The tiles were decorated by master artisans, so-called “nakkash”, that were brought from throughout the empire to Istanbul and Iznik to carry out this art.

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For example, the interior and exterior of the rooms of the Topkapi Palace are often richly decorated with Iznik tiles. The base colours of these tiles are often different shades of blue, featuring floral or geometric decorative patterns. The tiles helped keep the rooms cool during hot summers and were relatively easy to maintain.
After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the sultans started a huge building program. In their buildings, especially those commissioned by Süleyman The Magnificent, his wife Hürrem and his Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha, large numbers of tiles were used. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul alone contains 20,000 tiles. This mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.
The Rüstem Pasha mosque is famous for its large quantities of exquisite İznik tiles, set in a very wide variety of beautiful floral and geometric designs. These tiles exhibit the use of a tomato-red colour characteristic of the early Iznik period (1555–1620), and no other mosque in Istanbul makes such lavish use of these tiles.

What are the technical qualities of Iznik tiles; what makes them different from other tiles?

Iznik Foundation tiles are the product of meticulous handwork, beginning with the selection of a raw material – quartz (a semi-precious stone) – of flawless quality. Each stage of production is manual. From a more technical perspective, these tiles are humidity absorbent due to the porous character of the biscuit and absorb static electricity due to their quartz body. They are excellent insulation elements and allow perfect maintenance due to the glasslike quartz glaze. While other tiles need to be installed with grouting, Iznik Foundation tiles are installed without any visible grouting, preventing mildew or bacteria growth.

There is a satiny finish to the touch in comparison with other tiles. The designs are always in proportion to the human body.


What are the effects of quartz on the human body?

Due to the very high percentage of quartz in the tile, no static electricity will build up on the human body. When quartz tiles are used in interiors, especially in offices and bedrooms, this enhances the sense of relaxation and absence of negative energy. In environments where modern equipment such as televisions, computers, office equipment or air conditioners are installed, even a single wall of tiles will help create a better quality of life.