This Turkish dish provides an example of the way different cultures and fashion trends intersected to create desirable objects for trading. In the last quarter of the fifteenth century, in the Turkish town of Iznik, already well-known for its pottery production, craftspeople began to manufacture high quality ceramics with a fritware body painted with cobalt blue under a transparent lead glaze. The detailed designs on the surface of these ceramic items combined Chinese elements with traditional Turkish Ottoman patterns. This development was almost certainly a result of requests made by the recently-established Ottoman court in Istanbul, which greatly valued Chinese blue-and-white porcelain.

The surface design of the Dish, with tulips and poppies depicts a symmetrical floral design, popular with Iznik ceramic craftsmen and inspired by fifteenth century Chinese blue and white ceramics. Tulip motifs were popular with the Ottomans because of the association of the flower’s beauty with divinity. Tulips were exported from Turkey to the Netherlands, becoming extremely popular and eventually leading to what has been termed a ‘tulip craze’ (1634 –1637) during which the Dutch considered that tulips were too valuable to plant!

Identify which flowers are tulips and which are poppies on the dish. Discuss their differences with a friend.

Look at an image of a tulip. How do they compare to the shape of the tulips on the dish?

Research the history of the tulip, including the reasons for the ‘tulip mania’ financial crash of 1637.

Identify the Chinese and the Turkish parts of the design on this dish.

Did you know that most of Australia’s weeds began as escaped garden plants, originally introduced by immigrants, travellers, and later by plant nurseries? Weeds threaten the growth of native plants by thriving in this environment. Research extinct Australian flora and create a symmetrical design that pays tribute to this extinct plant or flower.

Pattern is concerned with seeing connections and identifying links. We see patterns in nature and experience patterns during our daily routines. Pattern is also used in art. When an artist repeats a particular mark, colour or shape, a pattern becomes obvious. We can also look for patterns across the work of different artists or by examining a single artist’s work over a period of time; patterns might appear in the materials they use or the themes they respond to.


Items such as carpet, wallpaper and decorative objects for the home are often inspired by nature. Create a repeated pattern for a new wallpaper or carpet design inspired by the Australian landscape.

Repetition is when an image, object or element is repeated in a work of art. Sometimes artists use repetition to create a sense of movement, stability or power, while on other occasions an image or object is repeated or reconfigured in some way, altering its original appearance or purpose.

Repetition has long been associated with printing and manufacturing – the ability to quickly and cheaply reproduce a single item or image with the use of a machine. Some artists have even used multiples of manufactured items as their work of art!


Locate works of art across art history that have used repetition to create rhythm, direction, balance and movement and label each work according to their effect.