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Ceramic Tile from Iran

Tile - Building Ceramic - Iran 13th - 14th Century - Pergamon Museum
Building Ceramic Tile, Iran 13th – 14th Century

This rectangular quartz frit tile is from Iran and was created in the 13th – 14th Century. The relief shows a hunting scene and between the two galloping riders is a deer. The riders have a golden halo surrounding their heads. The hunter on the right holds the reins in his right hand and a sword in his left, while the rider on the left, is turning backwards, holds the bow and arrow in his hands and aims at the deer.

Different types of flowers and leaves surround the riders. Along the upper and lower edge runs a narrow border, which is decorated with repetitive floral motifs. This tile was part of a frieze that adorned the interior walls of a palace and is made of quartz frit.


Fritware refers to a type of pottery which was first developed in the Near East, a technique for “fritware” dating to c. 1300 AD written by Abu’l Qasim reports that the ratio of quartz to “frit-glass” to white clay is 10:1:1. This type of pottery has also been referred to as “stonepaste” and “faience” among other names.

Iznik pottery was produced in Ottoman Turkey as early as the 15th century AD. It consists of a body, slip, and glaze, where the body and glaze are “quartz-frit.” Microscopic analysis reveals that the material that has been labelled “frit” is “interstitial glass” which serves to connect the quartz particles. Frit was also a significant component in some early European porcelains.


A halo is a crown of light rays, circle or disk of light that surrounds a person in the various arts. It has been used in the iconography of many religions to indicate sacred figures and has at different periods also been used in images of rulers or heroes. In the sacred art of Ancient Greece, Rome, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and other religions, holy persons may be depicted with a halo in the form of a circular glow, or flames.

In Asian art, a halo may be depicted around the head or the whole body. If around the entire body it is called a mandorla. Halos may be shown as almost any colour or combination of colours, but are most often depicted as golden, yellow or white when representing light or red when representing flames.

Highlights of the Pergamon Museum


  • Why the golden halos?

Tile – Building Ceramic – Iran 13th – 14th Century

  • Name:                    Tile – Building Ceramic – Iran 13th – 14th Century
  • Created                  13th – 14th century
  • Original Location:  Iran
  • Material:                Quartz frit, model embossed, opaque turquoise glaze under blue, white and red livery with gilding
  • Dimensions:          H: 24.5 cm; W: 42.5 cm; Depth: 4 cm
  • Museum:               Pergamon Museum


“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history
is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”

– Aldous Huxley


Photo Credit: 1) JOM