The Topkapi Palace and many mosques are adorned with Iznik tiles.

During the 16th century, when the Ottoman Empire was at its peak, these tiles reached the height of quality and design. However, as the empire declined, so did the quality of the tiles and production was eventually discontinued in the 18th century. (For more information on the history of Iznik tiles, please click here.)

In the 1980s, potters became interested in the beauty of the tiles and moved to Iznik, where they worked to reproduce the once-lost techniques and materials.

Today, workshops continue to produce Ottoman-era replicas and souvenirs, while artists inspired by the tiles create their own unique works.

MOL Turkey has featured the work of Japanese artists Kanae Akkus, Ryuko Kito, and Yumiko Kubota, who are active in the region as tile painters.

We would like to ask some questions to Ryuko Kito, one of the artists. 

 Q. How did you become interested in Turkish tiles?
The trigger was that I originally liked miniature paintings and wanted to paint them myself. As I learned the basics of miniature painting and various other traditional arts, I was drawn to the scale and expressive techniques of tile painting, and I decided to major in decorative tiles.

Q. You were awarded the Sakıp Sabancı Art Award. Have there been any changes in your artistic activities before and after receiving the award?
The Sakıp Sabancı Award is given to the top graduating student in the department. All of the courses on traditional Turkish Arts were interesting, and I attended as many lectures as I could and challenged myself, which led me to receive the Sakıp Sabancı Award.
Before and after receiving the award, I continue to learn to create unique works of art based on tradition.

As MOL Turkey, we believe that all traditional arts around the world should be supported. And we support Turkish "Iznik Tiles" and the artists who are fascinated by this art.