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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
"Golden Horn" Tondino
First half of 16th century
Frit body with underglaze painting

2 x 10 1/8 x 10 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of His Highness the Aga Khan, Shia Ismaili Community of Houston; the Levant Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Akbar Ladjevardian; the Francis L. Lederer Foundation; Marathon Oil Company; Mr. and Mrs. Omar Rehmatulla; Strategic Real Estate Advisors, London; Monsour Taghdisi; His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Suhaim Al Thani; and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, with additional funds provided by the 2007 Arts of the Islamic World Gala and museum purchase with funds provided by the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund and the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund

Arts of Asia

In the late 15th century, the Turkish city of Iznik, south of Istanbul, became the center of production for one of the most distinctive types of ceramics in the Islamic world. Early Iznik wares, inspired by Chinese blue-and-white porcelain and celadon wares, employed blue as their primary color and reproduced motifs that were often drawn from a Far Eastern visual repertoire while also testing new decorative formulas.

This tondino—a type of plate with a broad, flat rim and small, bowl-shaped center—is a superb example of Iznik production of the first half of the 16th century. The style of decoration, dominated by leafy spirals, is generally called “Golden Horn,” a reference to numerous fragments with comparable motifs found on the southern shore of the Golden Horn, an inlet dividing Istanbul. By the mid-16th century, green, turquoise, purple, and a thick, vibrant red paint known as bolus armenus were incorporated to the palette of Iznik wares, along with new decorative motifs dominated by floral bouquets.