Ceramics - Qibla-Tile

Inscription: Sura Al-E-Imran (The family of ‘Imran) 3:96-97 
Size: 52 x 32 cm 
Origin and time: Turkey Ottoman Empire, 17th Century
Inv. No. AKM 00587

The tile made of ceramic shows a painting of the black covered Kaaba at the Holy Mosque in Mecca (Masjid al-Haram), the place of Muslims’ yearly pilgrimage. Above the painting is an inscription reading two verses from the Quran about the Holy Mosque in Mecca:

“Lo! the first Sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Becca, a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples; Wherein are plain memorials (of Allah's guidance); the place where Abraham stood up to pray; and whosoever entereth it is safe. And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither. As for him who disbelieveth, (let him know that) lo! Allah is Independent of (all) creatures.” (Sura Al-E-Imran, 96-97) Translation: Pickthal

In order to give the spectator an overall impression of the place, the manufacturer chose to show the Kaaba from different views, top view and front view. The most important places are identified in writing as it has been usually done in manuals about the pilgrimage, which were commonly produced in the Islamic world. Such tiles showing the typical colours used in Ottoman ceramics such as turquoise, cobalt blue, green and red on white background were made in the 17th century. They were often used as decoration in mosques indicating the qibla, the direction towards which the Muslims pray. This tile demonstrates the Ottoman’s interest in typography and the long tradition of depicting the Holy Mosque in Mecca by various artistic means.