Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Hexagonal Tile Ensemble with Sphinx

Object Name:
Tile panel
ca. 1160s–70s
Turkey, Konya
Stonepaste; over- and underglaze-painted, gilded
H. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm) W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm) D. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jack A. Josephson, 1976
Accession Number:
Not on view
By the early twentieth century, the two-story Konya Köşk had largely fallen into ruin, but architectural fragments speak to its former artistic sophistication and lavish polychrome ornamentation. The upper story of this Rum Seljuq “citadel-palace” was dominated by an iwan with balconies on three sides facing outward over the sultanate’s capital, Konya, thereby functioning as both a belvedere and a point from which the sultan could consider his dominion. The luxurious mina˒i ceramic technique of these tiles is reminiscent of that associated with the luxury vessels made in Kashan, Iran. The stucco reliefs also recall the artistic language developing both in the eastern and western parts of the Seljuq realm, which eventually extended into Christian lands, as seen in comparable stucco reliefs found at the Armenian capital at Ani. The imagery of real and fantastic animals and scenes of equestrian combat aimed to re-create an earthly paradise or the ideal life and just dominion of the sovereign presiding over this cosmos. It also offered supernatural and magical protection to the ruler, his entourage, and the sultanate. The Konya Köşk, although situated in an urban environment, evoked the ideal natural setting awaiting the sultan at his country pavilions as well as the paradisiacal ideal awaiting him in heaven.
Octave Homberg(until 1908; his sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 11–16,1908, no. 125); JeunietteCollection, Paris (from 1908?); Alphonse Kann, Paris (until 1927; his sale, American Art Association,New York, January 6–8, 1927, no. 233, to Kevorkian); The Hagop Kevorkian Fund, New York (1927–76; its sale, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York,May 8, 1976, no. 103); Mr. and Mrs. Jack A. Josephson, New York (1976; gifted to MMA)
Galerie Georges Petit: M. O. Homberg Collection. Paris: Galerie Georges Petit, 1908. no. 125.

Sarre, Friedrich Dr. Der Kiosk von Konia. Berlin: Verlag fur Kunstwissenschaft, 1936. pp. 19ff, 50, ill. pl. 6.

Lane, Arthur. "Mesopotamia, Egypt and Persia." In Early Islamic Pottery. Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain. London: Faber and Faber, 1947. p. 43.

Otto-Dorn, Katharina. Turkische Keramik, Veroffentilichungen der Philosophischen Fakultat der Universitat ANkara Nr. 119, (1957). p. 31ff, ill. pl. 10a.

Miller IU. A. Khudozhestvennaia Keranika Turtsii. Leningrad, 1972. p. 15.

Sotheby's: Antiquities and Islamic Works of Art. New York: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1976. no. 103, May 8, 1976.

Ettinghausen, Richard. Archives of Asian Art. vol. XXXI (1977–1978). p. 138.

Canby, Sheila R., Deniz Beyazit, Martina Rugiadi, and A. C. S. Peacock. "The Great Age of the Seljuqs." In Court and Cosmos. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 20a, pp. 81-87, ill. p. 81 (color).

Ettinghausen, Richard, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Islamic Art and Architecture 650-1250. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. p. 251, ill. fig. 414 (color).

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