Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shaped Tiles in the 'Cuerda Seca' Technique

Object Name:
Tile fragments
late 14th century
Attributed to Turkey, Konya
Stonepaste; polychrome glaze within black wax resist outlines (cuerda seca technique)
Tile a: H. 18 13/16 in. (47.8 cm)
W. 11 1/16 in. (28.1 cm)
Wt. 23 lbs. (10.4 kg)
Tile b: H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm)
W. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm)
Wt. 19 lbs. (8.6 kg)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
08.185a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 460
A brilliant but short‑lived episode in the history of Anatolian ceramic production was the appearance of tiles decorated in the so‑called cuerda seca ("dry cord") technique. In the cuerda seca process, thin bands of waxy resist maintain color separation between glazes during firing, but leave behind "dry cords" of unglazed tile. This technique seems to have been introduced to Turkey from Iran as early as the fourteenth century. These tiles are also distinguished by their curving shape, recalling their original placement—probably on the exterior of the polylobed tower of the Mevlana Turbesi (Tomb of Rumi) in Konya.
[ Hagop Kevorkian, New York, until 1908; sold to MMA]
New York. The Hagop Kevorkian Special Exhibitions Gallery. "Flowers and Leaves: The Ottoman Pottery of Iznik," September 25, 1991–November 15, 1992, no catalogue.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 218, ill. fig. 143 (b/w).

Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Islamic Pottery: A Brief History." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, vol. 40, no. 4 (Spring 1983). no. 39, pp. 34-35, ill. pl. 39 (color).

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