Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Symbolic Design

Last week we visited the subject of Turkish Iznik tiles so this week I thought we could learn about some of the designs.


  • Symbol of the Ottoman Empire
  • Meanings include submission, modesty, or love
In Burnt Amber the tulip arabesque visits those meanings in Sybil's wardrobe and in one other strategic place (sorry, no spoilers here).

Tree of Life:

  • Known in many cultures as the world tree, for example the Norse Yggdrasil or Hindu Ashvastha
  • Symbolic of the cycle of life and death, but also represents the interconnectedness of everything.
The design appears in Burnt Amber with the phoenix. I've also seen versions of the actual tree recently in Avatar and The Alchemist.

  • Three pearls, topped by two double clouds thought to represent dragons
  • Used on items for the sultan, especially his robes.
  • Meanings include power, strength, protection
My kids reminded my about it recently when I was looking for blue amber. The çintemani stone is important in their video game, Uncharted 2. Never know where your next inspiration is going to come from you know...I'm using the çintemani in the next book, if I ever get to it.

Of course there are many other patterns in tilework and textiles, but these are the ones you'll find in my work.

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