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Istanbul exhibition recreates lost Iznik tiles

Istanbul exhibition recreates lost Iznik tiles
By Murat Oztekin
Jun 3, 2024 11:25 AM

Unique Iznik Ottoman tiles, once a cherished part of Türkiye’s cultural heritage, are now scattered across the globe in museums and collections. The Istanbul Beylerbeyi Sabanci Olgunlasma Institute’s tile workshop is bridging this gap with an exhibition titled “Lost Tiles from Iznik to the World.”

Over the past two years, talented artists Gulmisal Golebatmaz Eslek, Basak Ozerkan, and Eda Ozcan Yildirim meticulously recreated 33 of these lost treasures. These meticulously crafted replicas span the 14th to 18th centuries, representing various artistic styles once found throughout Türkiye.

Visitors can marvel at reproductions in Baba Nakkas, naturalist, Hatayi, Rumi, Damascus work, and more, offering a glimpse of the diverse artistic heritage embodied by these “lost” Iznik tiles.

Ozerkan, one of the artists, shared her motivations: “These tiles were either gifted or taken abroad, leaving most Turkish citizens unable to see these historical artifacts in their own country. We wanted to raise awareness by recreating the works. We believe everyone should see that the motifs in these tiles belong to our heritage.”

Istanbul exhibition recreates lost Iznik tiles

Ottoman colors could not be fully realized

Noting that they selected tiles with different styles by scanning relevant literature, Ozerkan said, “We selected works from literature that showcased various artistic styles from the 14th to 18th centuries, including Ottoman palace tiles. It’s important to clarify that these are reproductions. These were not mass-produced works. Each piece was shaped by hand on a pottery wheel.  Finding the exact colors used, especially the tomato red popular during the rise of the Ottoman Empire, proved very challenging.”

“Lost from Iznik to the World” exhibition will be on display at Istanbul Beylerbeyi Sabanci Olgunlasma Institute until Sept. 27.

Last Updated:  Jun 5, 2024 6:23 PM