Accession Number: 
Iznik, Turkey
52 x 32 cm
17th century
Materials and Technique: 
Fritware, underglaze-painted

Using bright colours under a clear glaze, this single tile depicts a topographical representation of the Ka‘ba and the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The Ka‘ba, distinguished by its rectangular form and the black cloth with a gold trim cover (known as kiswa), is believed by Muslims to be the place that the patriarch Abraham built to worship God. This is reflected in the main inscription beneath the arch that contains a verse from the Qur’an reminding believers of Abraham’s faith and the importance of pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca (Sura 3:96–97). Tiles of this type were common under the Ottomans (1299–1923) and were used to decorate the qibla wall of mosques and religious buildings, indicating the direction of prayer and commemorating pilgrimage.