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Design Fundamentals

Design Fundamentals

3 July 2022

The design features of tile patterns have been the subject of research in various fields. In addition to the free compositions, the symmetrical, central arrangement based on infinite reproducibility, often called “ulama”, stands out. This eternally reproducible design principle, traces of which one can find in Turkish architectural ornamentation since the geometric pattern designs of brick and terracotta in Karahanlı architecture, is based on a deeply rooted knowledge of geometry. The presence of plant folds is a testament to the same profundity. Tile decorations in architecture use baseboards or side borders, panels, pediments, corner fillings with sub-norms, together with the tile module, which generally corresponds to 24.5 x 24.5 cm. Tiles designed and kiln-fired with incredible skill lend themselves to conical contractions, especially in the altars, corner fillings and crowns, as well as in the hearths and niches.

Sitare Turan classifies the suborder of “ulama” compositions, which can extend to infinity, as simple, circular-layered, central, longitudinal, and sunlit forms (Turan Bakır 1999, 220 et al.).

In some buildings in Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul, the harmony of the taste of the time with the technique, especially in the patterns of colored glazed tiles, is remarkable, while the variety of underglaze decoration has reached outstanding proportions.

It will be necessary to draw attention once again to the role of the palace painter in understanding the patterns that came to the fore in tile decoration, which reached its peak in the 16th century, and the design created by the Hassa Architects Association, depending on the ornamental program. The influence of the patterns of artists such as Şahkulu and Karamemi is generally acknowledged to be prominent upon the naturalistic style in various branches of art of the era. The floral patterns known by different names to different researchers, but found to be realistic representations in the studies of Yıldız Demiriz, feature motifs such as opium, reverse tulip, vine and grape, spring-blooming fruit tree, yellow daisy, crocus, rose, carnation, fuchsia, tulip, anemone (Manisa tulip), violet, fruit tree, daffodil, cornflower, cypress, hyacinth, iris, lily and Mary’s lamp for tile decorations (Demiriz 1997, 163 et al.).

While the design of the inscriptions follows the models of the works of famous calligraphers of the time based on the characteristics of the structures, the same features catch the eye when one looks at the decorations on the floors. Detailed research on the tile ornament scheme in the works of Mimar Sinan was done by Şerare Yetkin  (Yetkin 1988, 479-493) (‘Anadolu Toprağının Hazinesi Çini’ (Tiles, Treasure of the Anatolian Lands), Belgin Demirsar Arlı and Ara Altun, p.65).


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