Iznik 17th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Dish from Iznik with a male figure (second half of the 17th century, c.1650-1675). The man is dressed in strange clothes, smokes a pipe and holds a double axe, while a dog is frolicking at his feet. Figurative depictions on Iznik ceramics at the end of the 16th and first half of the 17th century were inspired by the popular imagery of miniature costume albums. The appearance of these brutish figures (as in the plate) from the mid-17th century marks a period during which the Iznik potters followed their own imagining.

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Iznik 17th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Polychrome painted dish with a male figure from the twilight period of the Ottoman ceramics industry in Iznik (second half of the 17th century, c.1650-1675). The area around the man is filled with flowers. The first evidence of figurative depictions on Iznik ceramics, is provided by fragments of a tankard from the 1530s and also by a dish with a man’s portrait a few years later. From then until the 1590s, human figures are absent in Iznik pottery.

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The Story of ICARO RODI & IKAROS RHODES in Greece

Industrie Ceramiche Artistiche Rodio – Orientali (I.C.A.R.O) – 1929/50 & IKAΡΟΣ 1950/84 Story in Rhodes Greece (For all of you that you are interested, check our I.C.A.R.O. page with 48 additional photos). Good examples from ICARO pottery and ICARO ceramics (plates, jugs, vases).

As information about I.C.A.R.O. & IKAROS are extremely rare, it will be much appreciated if you could share with us photos, cards, articles from your private collections or even email us with anything to help us continue this story.

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Rhodes (Greece) 20th - Private Collection Athens Greece

I.C.A.R.O. tile with the image of Grand Master’s palace in Rhodes. Inscription with the date “Rodi Il 1.1.1943”, and the wish “Buon Anno” (Happy New Year) on it. From 1310 to 1522 the Order of the Knights of Saint John was settled in the island. Rhodes appears to have gained by their presence, because piracy, widely spread on sea and land, diminished and commerce was rapidly increased.

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Rhodes (Greece) 20th - Private Collection Athens Greece

I.C.A.R.O. tile with the image of Madonna from Filerimos. Austrian potter Egon Huber arrived in Rhodes in 1931, fall in love with the island and decided to stay. He worked at I.C.A.R.O. for many years and probably was still the technical director of the factory after 1950, where the factory continued its production under new ownership. The image of the Madonna of Filerimos (near Ialyssos) is believed to be his idea. Variations of the image can be found till today in churches and other buildings.

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Aigina (Greece) 20th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Terracotta head of a Greek Orthodox priest from the Greek island of Aegina (2Oth century). The head is hand made from a potter in the village Mesagros. Aegina was an important ceramic center, supplying (mainly with water jugs) Athens and surrounding areas up to 1960.

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Iznik 16th - Victoria & Albert Museum London UK

Iznik Tile -Top Table about 1560. This kind of tables were used for resting trays full with food and drinks, for the guests in Ottoman palaces. This table is from the Islamic collection of the V&A museum. The Victoria and Albert museum (often abbreviated as the V&A) was founded in 1852, named after the Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, with a permanent collection of more than 4.5mln objects. The collections of the V&A museum (fields of post-Medieval, Middle Eastern and East Asian ceramics) are the most extensive and comprehensive in the word. The refurbishment project of the museum has created the most important center for the enjoyment, study and understanding of the ceramics and a collection that cannot be found anywhere in the world.

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Iznik 17th Mecca - Benaki Islamic Museum Greece

Iznik tiles panel with the depiction of the Kaaba, in the central courtyard of the vast Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca (Benaki Islamic Museum). Kaaba, the most sacred place on earth for Muslims, is a square shrine covered by a black silk and gold cloth known as the Kiswah. It is toward this place that Muslims turn five times a day in prayer and it is the goal of every devout Muslim to make a pilgrimage to the Kaaba at least once in his lifetime. Islamic tradition asserts that Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba as a copy of God’s house in heaven. It was around 1640 to 1675 when the Iznik potters began to produce Kaaba panels to meet the needs of the Muslim middle-classes.

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Iznik Tile 18th - Benaki Islamic Museum Greece

Iznik tile dated from 1706 (early 18th c.) with the footprints of the prophet Muhammad. These are the footprints left by the Prophet before his miraculous night journey from Jerusalem to the heavens. Above the rock on which he stepped was erected in 691 the earliest Islamic monument, the Dome of the Rock.
Iznik Collections are found in both important private collections & museums of Islamic arts. The Benaki Museum of Islamic Art is one of the most important in the world. It includes examples from as far as India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Middle East and Egypt. With more than 8.000 works of art (including ceramics, gold, glass, metalwork and textiles among others) the Benaki Museum of Islamic Arts presents the evolution of Islamic civilization from the early appearance of Islam to the Ottoman Period.

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France (Nevers) 18th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Faience plate from Nevers (second half of the 18th c.). Faience was introduced in France in the 16th Century by migrant Italian potters and Nevers was the leading French centre for ceramic production. The city of Nevers employed many Italian artists, who brought with them the narrative styles of Italian maiolica. These painters also combined elements from French, Chinese and Middle Eastern designs to create a distinctive style of decoration, where art played the first role. The production of ceramics in Nevers flourished in the 18th century, when ordinary items for common use were manufactured in large quantities in the eleven factories that were in active operation during the French Revolution period.

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Kutahya 18th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Hanging ornament, egg shaped with transparent glaze. The body is decorated with seraphims (in green and yellow colors) and cross motifs.
One of the most important Kütahya ceramics of the 16th century (can be found in the London British Museum) is a pitcher that was given as a gift to a monastery in Ankara in 1529 and has an inscription at the bottom in Armenian that says “Made in Kutahya”. The pitcher is further evidence that tiles and ceramics were being made in Kutahya at the same time as they were in Iznik.

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Iznik 16th - Benaki Islamic Museum Athens Greece

Iznik fish-shaped ceramic, possibly candlestick, dated from c. 1525. Arthur Lane introduced the name “Abraham of Kutahya” for the first phase of the blue and white ceramics of Iznik, relying on two items, an ewer and a flask of AD 1510 and 1529, with Armenian inscriptions (from Goldman’s collection, now in the British Museum). Lane considered that these ceramics were the work of Armenian craftsmen at Iznik, but recent researches have shown that these objects came from Kütahya, another pottery producing town, in which the Armenian potters were playing a major role. During the evolution of Iznik pottery, there were various phases and styles and sometimes a combination of them. In this picture, we can notice the thin scrollwork on the back and belly of the fish, which is an introduction of the new “Golden Horn ware” or Tuğra style.

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Iznik 16th - Benaki Islamic Museum Athens Greece

This beautiful ‘grape’ motif (three grapes that imitates the decoration of 15th c. Chinese plates) was adapted and used by the Iznik potters for more than a century from its first appearance in the early 16th c. The plate belongs to the Rhodian Style Iznik and is dated around 1560/65.
Arthur Lane was the first to categorize the main groups of Iznik pottery – Abraham of Kutahya (blue and white), Golden Horn (spirals), Damascus (soft colors including green and purple) and Rhodian (brilliant green and red color).

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Pesaro 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Wine ceramic jug from Pesaro Italy (second half of the 18th c.). Pesaro is a seaport wetting by the Adriatic Sea, at the Foglia River mouth (the ancient “Pisaurus”, from which the city was named). The ceramic tradition in Pesaro dates back to the thirteenth century. This jug is decorated with the double-headed eagle, common decorative motif on pottery workshops in the region of Marche of mid 18th until the mid 19th century. Symbol of supreme power, the double-headed eagle appears from ancient times in folk arts and traditions from Asia to Europe.

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France Patronymique 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

St. Jerome with lion, painted on a French patronymique ceramic plate (Nevers?) from the beginning of the 19th century. St. Jerome (c. 347 – 30 September 420) was an Illyrian Catholic priest and apologist, first Latin translator of the Bible. In fine arts he is usually depicted with a Bible, accompanied by a lion (this picture emerged from a Christian legend). One evening St. Jerome was sitting in his monastery in Jerusalem, when a mighty lion came in limping on three paws, holding the fourth caught up. While the monks tripped over one another trying to get away, Jerome went out to meet him as one greets an incoming guest. The lion offered his wounded paw and Jerome noticed that the paw had been pierced by thorns. After he applied a salve, the wound quickly healed. So, St. Jerome tamed the lion, which now went in and out of the cloister as peaceably as any domestic animal.

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Rhodes 20th - ICARO Old City (Guardia)

I.C.A.R.O. tiles theme found in 2005 at an old Italian building, used to be the port customs in the old city of Rhodes (Rodi). ICARO workshop opening took place in 1926 in order to test various pottery techniques but the official inauguration was few years later in July 24, 1929. Initial set up of ICARO production was the result of the efforts and passion of a small team of young Italians that were invited to come to Rhodes from the Royal school of ceramics in Faenza (today the National Institute of Ceramics) bringing their love for ceramics and the needed knowhow in colors and techniques.

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Rhodes 20th - ICARO Old City (Via dei Cavalieri)

ICARO (I.C.A.R.O.) tiles theme (about 1931 -1932) from the old city of Rhodes (Rodi) in Greece. Industrie Ceramiche Artistiche Rodio-Orientali (I.C.A.R.O) was a manufactory producing pottery from 1929 to 1950, inspired by the decorative motifs of Iznik. ICARO was part of an ambitious Italian project aiming the economic growth of Rhodes island in Greece during the period of the Italian occupation (May 1912 till the end of the WW2).

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Iznik 16th - Benaki Islamic Museum Athens Greece

Stunning and well recognized motif from an Iznik plate, with brilliant combination of cobalt blue, olive-green and red colors.
From the late 15th century, the city of Iznik (Byzantine Nicaea) became the most important provider of luxurious ceramic vessels and impressive tile themes made for the court, mosques, palaces and the prosperous class of the Ottoman Empire.

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Levos (Greece) 20th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Pitcher with the portrait of Lord Byron from the Greek island of Lesvos (village of Agiasos). George Gordon Byron (1788 – 1824), commonly known as Lord Byron, was one of the greatest British poets and a leading figure in Romanticism. Greece was a source of inspiration for him. He was a passionate philhellene and travelled to fight against the Ottomans during the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revered him as a national hero. Lord Byron died of fever at the age of 36 years old in Messolonghi (Greece). The pitcher is from the first half of the 20th c.

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Grottaglie 19th - Private collection Athens Greece

Jug from Grottaglie (region of Puglia), with a distinctive painting of a Masseria. Masserie (Italian plural for Masseria) are surrounded by high walls designed to protect from outlaws and bandits. Most of them were build between 16th and 18th century and could host up to 300 persons although in general these buildings were designed to host two or three families on the ground floor (Apulian farmers of wheat, wine, milk, cheese and olive oil) and the landowner’s family on the first floor. This jug is from the second half of the 19th c.

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Grottaglie 19th - Private collection Athens Greece

Jug from Grottaglie (region of Puglia), with a distinctive painting of a Masseria, a traditional fortified farmhouse commonly found in southern Italy and particularly Puglia and Sicily. Masserias belonged to large estates and provided protection to farm workers and crops of the landowner. Examples of these properties can be found today in Sicily and Puglia, (particularly in the countryside around Taranto, Brindisi and Lecce) under a new role, that of a country hotel, museum or a private house. This jug is from the second half of the 19th c.

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Kutahya 18th - Benaki Islamic Museum Athens Greece

Armenian plate (Kutahya) dated from the second half of the 18th century. Representation of a mail figure – portrays a vendor of liver, providing an idea of those period bazaars. Such plates were mainly addressed for European buyers.
The oldest dated (1718/9) Kutahya tiles, are a special order for the restoration of the church of the Holy Sepulcher within the Old City of Jerusalem (also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians). These pictorial tiles depict a series of scenes from the Old and New Testament with an inscription in Armenian. (Last Supper and Holly Women at the empty Tomb – Etchmiadzin chapel, St. James Cathedral, Armenian Patriarchate, Jerusalem)

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Kutahya 18th - San Lazzaro Venice

Armenian plate (Kutahya) dated from 18th century. Soldier holding a charger with John the Baptist’s head in front of Salome, daughter of Herod the Great.
Armenian pottery flourished in Kutahya (a city in western Asia Minor) with the first dated pieces to go back to the early 16th century. However, Kutahya reached its peak as a pottery center in the 18th century due to the important orders from mosques and churches.

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Canakkale 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Canakkale jug dated from the end of the 19th century with a duck’s head mouth. Bulbous body with a long narrow neck, and a twisted handle. Red earthenware with brown glaze, decorated with leaves and flowers in intense green and red paint.
With forms of great diversity Canakkale ceramics include different size of plates, deep dishes, fruit bowls, jars (large or smaller ones), jugs, bottles, decorated as the ceramists in Canakkale especially knew.

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Canakkale 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Canakkale jug dated from the end of the 19th with a duck’s head mouth. Bulbous body with a long narrow neck, and a twisted handle. Red earthenware with colorless glaze, decorated with leaves and flowers in intense green and red paint.
Canakkale ceramists (mostly Armenians, Greeks and Turks) gained popularity in time and benefiting from the Canakkale’s geographical location (port near the Aegean sea) to heavily export jugs and plates as souvenirs in Greece (emphasis in islands as Skyros and Rhodes), France (Avignon) and Russia among other.

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Canakkale 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Canakkale figure of a Greek traditional warrior called Evzone. Storage item dated from the end of 19th or early 20th century. Red earthenware with splashes of green and brown paint.
Canakkale is the third most important Turkish pottery center after Iznik and Kutahya with important activity between 1670 and 1922. Although Canakkale ceramics constitutes a recent field of investigation, they have become an object of comprehensive research and passionate “hunt” from ceramic collectors.

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Canakkale 18th - Private Collection Athens Greece


Canakkale plate dated from the 2nd half of 18th century. Red earthenware (usual) with light – yellow glaze, and a round medallion at the center, surrounding a triangle.
It was the early 17th century when Canakkale ceramics (souvenirs rather than objects of daily use) became an object of enough interest to caught the attention of foreign travelers

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Canakkale 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Canakkale jug dated from the end of the 19th century with its mouth shaped as the head of a horse with two wings along its neck. In the middle of the body, an eagle spreads its wings and at the edge two candlesticks. Brown glaze with colorful decorations along its bulbous body.
The name is Turkish, Canak Kale (two words) and means the castle of pots. People in the area, Turkish, Greek, Jew or Armenian used the name Canakkale, all but the educated Greeks that used the name Dardanelles.

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Canakkale 19th - Private Collection Athens Greece

Soil, water and fire. With the same materials that men produced the first pots few thousand years ago, potters continue to mould their ceramics in our days. The pottery is one of the most ancient human activities. Ceramics is our passion. We are impressed by their form and variety, fascinated by the beauty of their drawings and colors, charmed by their simplicity and also their complexity. After several years of collecting ceramics, we created this site to share with you our knowledge and love for pottery. Through the ceramics, we are seeking for forgotten and living traditions, techniques, influences and effects, signs and symbols, historical events, scenes of daily life and human stories, from Greece, the Balkans, Europe and Asia. We hear the “voices” of objects themselves and transmit them to all of you, who wish to experience this wonderful silent world of clay.

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