"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Collection of Ceramic Tiles

15th century AD
Tarwizi Compound, Damascus

This is a collection of ceramic tiles which belongs to the al-Tawrizi Compound constructed in Damascus during the Mamluk period, in 823 H= 1419 AD. This collection of tiles is a sample of the kind of ornamentation that was used to cover the walls of this compound and it is an important document of art history since the ceramic maker has signed his name on one of the tiles- (worked by Ghibi al-Tairouzi)– and they were found in situ at the building for which they were originally constructed, a building which also features the date of construction and the name of the patron.

From the name of the artist, we find that the ceramicist originally came for the city of Tawriz, a synonym for the Persian city of Tarbiz. In Damascus, several ceramic objects are found, bearing the signature of Ghibi al-Tawrizi (i.e. from Tabriz) while others bear the signature of Ghibi al-Shami (i.e. from Damascus). It is known that the mosque, bath and shrine of the al-Tawrizi complex were built by order of the honorary Mamluk of Damascus, Ghars al-Din Khalil al-Tawrizi. So is Ghibi a Damascene artist or a Tabrizian? Tabriz has been well known for its tile craftsmanship and it has influenced the style of tile production far and wide.

This collection of three hexagonal blue-and-white tiles also displays the strong influence of Chinese ceramic designs on the rest of the world.

As for the images, the first tile on the right features a stringed musical instrument, the second an ornamented quiver of arrows, and the third a pair of beautiful vases or pitchers. All the images are surrounded by elegant spirals of floral designs. The painting is executed with blue color on a white bed, under a transparent green glaze.

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