REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

The Characteristics of İznik Tiles

İznik Tiles are admired worldwide for the following reasons:

• İznik Tiles are made on a very clean white base with hard backs and underglazed decorations in a unique technique.

• 70-80 percent of an İznik tile is composed of quartz and quartzite. Its beauty arises from the harmonious composition of three successive quartz layers and a paste-slip-glaze combination which is extremely difficult to bring together. The mixture of quartz, clay and glaze disperses in a very wide thermic spectrum at 900 centigrade. After painstaking research, the problem of the fluctuating thermal behaviour of the tiles due to their quartz and rock crystal composition is solved. The result is a tile made primarily out of a semi-precious stone: quartz.

• Even though it may appear to be against the principle of “ceramic textural unity”, the porous structure of the tiles causes dilatation or shrinkage in hot, cold or freezing conditions. It is said that this particular aspect of the structure “allows it to breatle”.

• In İznik tiles, one can observe colours resembling those of semi-precious stones such as the dark blue of lapis lazuli, the blue of turquoise, the redness of coral, the green of emerald.

• Some of the colours observed on the tiles and utensils, particularly the coral red, are very hard to obtain and apply. To obtain all of these colours, the cornea white and opaque sheen glazes are required. The slightly opaque quality of the glaze on the tiles absorbs light and reduces strain on the eyes. It not only protects the tile but also help it breathe.

• The figures on the tiles and utensils reflect allegorical and symbolic characteristics and the flora and fauna of the region. The geometrical designs can be interpreted almost cosmologically as a general description or depiction of the world or the Universe. They blend beautifully with the surrounding architectural constructions in which they are found, and are never overpowering or overstated, but always tend towards a timeless discretion and moderation.

• The inscriptions and the writings on the tiles never consist of egocentric or aggressive texts; rather, they present the ideology and philosophy of Islam.

• The Foundation researchers have been using the classical İznik tile designs on the productions, reviving the mystery of the creation of the İznik tile. Throughout the production processes, the main objective is to master the traditional technological methods rather than embrace those of our own day. In order to preserve the authenticity of the İznik tiles, the İznik Foundation utilizes raw materials that are akin to those of the 16th century.
 
• The production of the İznik tile, which is the complete opposite of the current ceramic technology is fundamentally based on the natural synthesis of its various