Out of the Fire

Dance of Fire
by Hülya Bilgi
Sadberk Hanım Museum


It is two decades since Istanbul held the last great exhibition of Iznik ceramics, which created a stir and gave birth to a classic catalogue, much sought-after and recently reissued. This year’s Iznik show, ‘Dance of Fire’ at the Sadberk Hanim Museum – some 350 masterpieces belonging to the museum and to the great Koç dynasty – promises to be equally memorable. And the catalogue is set fair to become another collector’s item

Both the Koç family and the Sadberk Hanım Museum contributed to Istanbul’s first Iznik exhibition, at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in 1989. And since then both have been shopping for more world-class pieces.

A maşrapa (jug) is one of the objects recently acquired by the Ömer Koç Collection. Decorated with branches studded with red berries alternating with elongated saz leaves, it was made between 1560 and 1580, at the height of Iznik, when the colours – indigo, turquoise, viridian and coral red – were at their most vibrant.

A tile (detail pictured) also from the second half of the 16th century, depicts an Iznik vase spilling over with flowers and has a strong Chinese cloudband border. The tile, part of a panel, was bought by the Sadberk Hanım Museum in 2006.

Other Highlights from Cornucopia 41
  • Dome of Baroque

    When it was built in 1741 in the new Baroque style, Cağaloğlu was at the forefront of architectural fashion. But this temple of cleanliness in the Old City marks the dramatic swansong of the grand Ottoman hammam.

  • Digging for Glory

    Bodrum’s peace was shattered in 1856 by the arrival of a warship bearing one of the most ambitious archaeological expeditions Britain has ever launched. Leading it was Charles Newton. His mission was to locate, excavate and carry home one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World


  • The Poetry Within

    An antiquarian’s deliciously distressed house in the Aegean was Berrin Torolsan’s first inspiration for the text of a new book on Turkish interiors. In this extract from At Home in Turkey, with photographs by Solvi dos Santos, she is captivated by a low-key restoration.


  • Celery’s Sibling

    Although commonly regarded as a root vegetable, like the potato, carrot or turnip, the bulbous part of the celeriac plant is not actually the root but a corm, the base of the leaf stems, out of which modest roots will grow.
    More cookery features


  • Joy in a Bottle

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    See Cornucopia’s self-guided wine tour

  • Barbarossa’s Baths

    Another masterpiece by the imperial architect Sinan, the Cınılı Hammam in the Old City of Istanbul was built for the legendary corsair-turned-admiral Barbaros Hayrettın Pasha, or Barbarossa, in the 1540s. Today it is far from grand, and only a few of the tiles that gave it the name Çınılı (Tiled) are still in evidence. But nothing can diminish the effect of the soaring curvy arches supporting a series of imposing domes.



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Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
£8.00 / $11.11 / 42.29 TL