Tile. Takht-i Sulayman, Iran, 14th century. Il-khanid period.
"In the Islamic world, ceramics makers emphasized brightly colored glazes and intricate designs to animate relatively simple shapes and architectural tiles. Drawing on a variety of decorative sources, they continually expanded and refined their repertoire of calligraphic, abstract, and figurative motifs. Some of the designs, such as the soaring phoenix on this fourteenth-century turquoise molded tile, reflect Iran’s contacts with other artistic traditions, in particular China. Such “exotic” motifs became an integral part of the Persian visual language and were skillfully adapted to satisfy local taste and aesthetic preferences."