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The soldier and the flower
Ithra Curiosities

The soldier and the flower

The soldier and the flower

Iznik dish: Collection of Walter Bareiss, Munich, Germany (dates unknown); Nicholas Shaw Fine Art Ltd., London (until 2005); acquired by Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2005.

By Rym Al-Ghazal
July 20th, 2020

“Stop and smell the roses.” In this particular case, we are encouraged to stop and smell the tulip. While the origins of the phrase are still debated, this line poetically captures the importance of pausing and taking a moment to enjoy the small things in life, sometimes something as simple and delicate as enjoying the beauty and the scent of a flower. This fritware underglaze-painted Iznik dish from Turkey, dating to the first half of the 17th century, is distinctive for its

depiction of a member of the Janissary corps, shown in a full uniform, consisting of a robe, boots, and characteristic tall hat. The Janissaries were elite infantry units that formed the Ottoman Sultan’s household troops and which were the first modern standing army in Europe. While the Janissaries were known for their ferocity in battle, this warrior is portrayed in a moment of joy, serenity and contemplation, holding a red tulip and enjoying the landscape.

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