This tile matches a border frieze adorning the portal of the tomb of Sultan Mehmed I (r. 1403–21) in Bursa, where monuments were badly damaged in an 1855 earthquake. It has a deeply carved pattern of lattices formed by pairs of undulating vine scrolls that meet at regular intervals along the centerline. The interlacing of the arabesque lattices is complex, but clarity is achieved through the use of different colored glazes. The tile predates the period, later in the fifteenth century, of widespread Chinese influence on Ottoman Turkish ceramics. In its deep relief and choice of colors, it exhibits similarities to tiles of Timurid Central Asia dating from the late fourteenth century, a resemblance probably explained by the documented presence of Persian tileworkers in Bursa at that time.
Yesil Türbe, tombof Sultan Mehmed I, Bursa, Turkey(early 15th century–at least 1855); Private Collection, England; [ Momtaz Islamic Art, until 1998; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nature of Islamic Ornament Part II: Vegetal Patterns," September 10, 1998–January 10, 1999, no catalogue.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 57, no. 2 (1998–1999). p. 10, ill. (color).
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 216, pp. 307-308, ill. p. 398 (color).