An assessment study of tiles from Topkapi Palace Museum with energy-dispersive X-ray and Raman spectrometers

Simsek G., Geckinli A. E.

JOURNAL OF RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY, vol.43, no.7, pp.917-927, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/jrs.3108
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.917-927
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


A limited number of studies concerning Ottoman ceramic technology have been performed using the scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry and micro-Raman spectroscopy techniques. The discovery of the ceramics, which were described as Iznik, at excavation sites outside of the city of Iznik, caused disagreements over the exact origin of Iznik products. In this study, bodies, glazes, and pigments of 46 tile/ceramic shards of unknown origin, which were supplied from the vaults of Topkapi Palace Museum, and two reference tile fragments, known as Kutahya products, supplied from the demolished Surp Krikor Lusavoric church and, additionally, two Iznik reference tiles were examined using the scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry and micro-Raman spectroscopy techniques. Results of both techniques were evaluated together for the first time to determine the power of nondestructive Raman spectroscopy technique in differentiation of Ottoman tiles. In this work, bodies of the Kutahya tiles were found to be different than Iznik and Tekfur stone-paste bodies, which are rich in clay rather than quartz. Two different lead-alkali glaze compositions were found for Kutahya tiles; one was rich in PbO (over 35%) and the other one was rich in alkali (PbO less than 25%). Barite inclusions were detected in the bodies and in the glazes of some Ottoman tiles, which could be the fingerprint for the Kutahya products. It was found that the under glaze red decoration is essentially a mixture of hematite and quartz in different proportions. Shades of red decoration mainly depend on the amount of hematite in the mixture. Sixteenth century tomato red decoration contains more quartz compared with 17th century dark red decoration. This study showed that a similar technology was also applied at Kutahya in the 16th century. A linear correlation was found between the position of the Raman intense stretching peak Q3 and lead oxide content of lead-alkali glazes, which could allow for the differentiation of Ottoman tiles based on the nondestructive Raman analysis. This study provides an important additional reference data and discussion for the Ottoman tiles. Copyright (c) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.