EST. 2009

May 7, 2010

That Iznik Shiznit

IF YOU HAD GONE TO SCHOOL IN A CATHOLIC SCHOOL LIKE I DID, the words Nicaea, Nicene, Ecumenical and Byzantine would easily ring a bell. Not many of us would remember in detail what they're about -at least I don't- but we all know it has something to do with the church. And the creed. And Constantinople.

Revisiting this pocket of knowledge leads me to İznik. Formerly Nicaea, İznik is a city in Turkey that served as the site for the first and second Councils of Nicaea and the first and seventh Ecumenical councils. It was the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea and from 1204 to 1261, the interim capital city of the Byzantine Empire.

Apart from its close association with Christianity and the Crusades, İznik, under the Ottoman Empire, became a major center in the production of pottery. İznik Çini, with Çin meaning China, were made in imitation of Chinese porcelain then popular with the Sultans.

Over the centuries,
İznik pottery has continued to diminish in value, as the Ottoman empire continued to diminish in power.

Quite sad. But unless you're a serious antiquities collector with money to spare, the new
İznik ceramics are good enough, pretty enough and affordable enough for infusing some ancient aesthetic and a bit of history into your home.

These plates are so pretty. I want them.

İznik ceramic plates from