Lot 167. A rare figural rimless Iznik pottery dish, Ottoman Turkey, circa 1570. Estimate £70,000 – £100,000 ($99,540 - $142,200). Unsold. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016

With gently curving sides and no rim, the white interior painted in cobalt-blue, turquoise, bole-red, green and black with an energetically drawn turbaned rider contemplating a fast flowing stream filled with green fish amidst fanciful flowers and birds, the thin border with white clouds reserved against blue, the exterior with alternating blue motifs, rim chips, the largest with fired replacement and small hairline crack, foot drilled in two places, old owner's stickers to base, excellent condition and glaze surface; 11¾in. (30cm.) diam.

ProvenanceFernand Adda, Alexandria, sold Palais Galliera, Paris, 3 December 1965, lot 893 
Eskenazi, Milan 
Private Italian Collection, sold Christie's, London, 17 June 1999, lot 1

Literature: Bernard Rackham, Islamic Pottery and Italian Majolica, London, 1959, no.196A, pp.142-3, pl.226

NoteIznik vessels of the 16th century depicting the human figure are very rare indeed. Only one other dish, in a private collection and formerly in the J. Acheroff Collection, can clearly be dated to the 16th century. It uses as its main design two human figures (Arthur Lane, Later Islamic Pottery, London, 1957, pl.43A, dated "about 1560-80"). Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby date it later, to 1590-1600, but still within the 16th century (Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby,Iznik, the Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989, pl.609). 

Unlike the static nature of the Acheroff dish, the artist who painted the present example fills it with a vitality which is very unusual in the attempt to convey movement. The head of the horse is very fluently drawn, and the bird hovering over the horse's head is masterly. There is no apparent iconographic source for the design; it comes straight from the imagination.