Title:Hexagonal Wall TileArtist:SyrianDate:Ottoman periodCreation Place:Asia, SyriaCredit Line:The William Hood Dunwoody FundAccession Number:17.55
Architectural tile work reached its greatest artistic expression in the Islamic countries. Glazed tile used as wall decoration became popular throughout the Middle East during the Seljuk dynasty (1038-1157). Animal figures and purely geometric motifs were applied to tiles glazed in both luster and polychrome techniques into the fifteenth century. Blue-and-white decor became universally popular with the Ottomans, however, and tile work in two shades of blue, such as the example shown here, was produced at Damascus in Syria beginning around 1500. Several Turkish mosques and palaces of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries incorporated similar tiles in their decor. Removed from its original setting, the tile loses much of its decorative impact, but thousands of such pieces adjacent to each other created a brilliant interior.