Date:second half 14th century
Geography: Attributed to present-day Uzbekistan, Samarqand
Medium: Stonepaste; carved and glazed
Dimensions: H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm) W. 8 5/8 in. 21.9 cm) D. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
From the Grinnell Collection, Met
The curving arched shape on top identifies it as a muqarnas element. Painted in robin egg blue, it has high relief of interlace. The rich shade of turquoise, highlighted by a white border is with deeply carved, symmetrical repeating circular vegetal scrolls that becomes smaller when they go to the upper curved part called the apex.
This curved tile would have been combined with dozens, or even hundreds, of others (depending on their location in the building) to form an ornate faceted and curving surface that would capture light and tantalize the eye.The precise origin of this tile remains unknown, although it is similar to tiles used at the Shah‑i Zinda funerary complex in Samarqand. The shape was probably derived from the squinch, an architectural element that serves to distribute the weight of a dome and creates a transitional zone between a circular dome and its square base. The precise origin of this tile remains unknown, although it is similar to tiles used at the Shah‑i Zinda funerary complex in Samarqand.
- “Tile from a Squinch | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017