Jug with "cloud" motifs

Turkish, Iznik
Fourth quarter of the 16th century

Object Place: Iznik, Turkey


Height x diameter: 23.5 cm (9 1/4 in.) x 14.6 cm (5 3/4 in)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Fritware, painted over white slip and with a transparent glaze.

On View

Islamic Gallery (Gallery 175)





After 1550, the chromatic range of Iznik ceramics expanded to include an emerald green and a thickly applied, brilliant red that stood up in relief. The colorful tiles and tablewares of this period were most often decorated with stylized flowers but in some cases featured animals, boats, or abstract forms. The motifs on this jug, although they have been termed lips, waves, or clouds, are instead proabably excerpted from a more complex design known as chintamani. Consisting of paired, wavy lines combined with trios of balls, chintamani seems to have had origins both in Buddhist jewel imagery and in the spots and stripes of leopard and tiger skins that clothe the Iranian epic hero, Rustam. With possible apotropaic connotations and uncontestable visual power, chintamani became a decorative staple of sixteenth-century Ottoman art ranging from caftans and carpets to inlaid furniture. After 1550, Iznik artists likewise featured the chintamani design on their tiles and wares, or used its elements–in particular the paired stripes–as independent motifs.


Given to MFA by George W. Wales, August, 1885

Credit Line

Gift of George Washington Wales