This most unusual Iznik dish has several features which appear to be unique. Its size and finesse make it apparent that it is the work of an accomplished potter, but the decoration is of a highly experimental nature. The potter appears very consciously to have looked for new sources and different interpretations of existing motifs. The overall feeling, and in particular the heavy use of a dark blue ground, link this dish to a group of dishes produced in around 1550-1560. It appears to have the same balance, with its small central blue ground roundel, blue ground border and impressionistic pomegranate tree in the centre, as some of the dishes related to the 'Musli' group, dated by Atasoy and Raby to 1550-1555 (Nurhan Atasoy, and Julian Raby, Iznik, the Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, London, 1989, nos.244, 247 and 248, pp. 138-9).
The drawing of the central roundel is however very different to the pomegranates in the dishes relating to the 'Musli' group mentioned above. It appears to combine an asymmetrical Chinese tree with large stylised pomegranates. These pomegranates do, however, bear a passing relationship to those on a dish in Ecouen dated to around 1560 (Atasoy and Raby, op.cit., pl.673). The cavetto certainly shows the eclecticism of the potter. The prunus trees copy a motif which appears on a small group of Chinese blue and white dishes, two of which are in the Topkapi Museum (Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, London, 1986, Vol.II, nos.645 and 646, p.539 and col.pl.438). In the Chinese original the drawing of the centre of the floral clump appears no clearer than in the present copy. As here, there is an alternation among the four motifs appearing in the cavetto in the Chinese dishes.
The border is extremely successful, introducing a design which does not appear on any other published pieces of this period. This is the prototype for a border design which is used on a large number of Iznik dishes dating from the late 16th and the first half of the 17th century, that of the alternating triangular panel, sometimes executed in two ground colours, each panel containing a half flowerhead (Geza Fehérvári, Islamic Pottery, a Comprehensive Study based on the Barlow Collection, London, 1973, nos.293 and 298, pl.114 for example). It probably also can claim to be the prototype for a slightly more complex border design which appears in the last quarter of the 16th century (Fehérvári, op.cit., no. 219, pl.94b).