Tunisian tiles: Ottoman inspiration from the 16th to the 19th centuries
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The span of time stretching between the end of the 16th and the end of the 19th centuries marks the period in which Tunisia was included within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. The tile ateliers which flourished in Tunisia from the end of the 16th century onwards produced a large number of revetments not only for local use but also for exportation to neighboring countries such as Algeria, Libya and Egypt. As a result of the exigencies of the dynamic social and cultural mutations peculiar to this epoque, a style composed of diverse cross cultural influences was elaborated by Tunisian tile-makers responding to the new vogue of the times. The aim of this research is to elucidate the Ottoman inspiration in a group of Tunisian tiles manufactured in this era through an analysis of the use of motifs, patterns, surface arrangements and iconographical aspects elaborated in ceramic workshops. This research will help to understand the role of the Ottoman factor in the development of a stylistic synthesis in the North African Mediterranean context and also adds a link to studies dealing with the evolution of Ottoman provincial styles.