Five Basic Decorative Arts Practiced By Traditional Turkish Handcrafters


Traditional Turkish handcrafters in their quest of producing art that reflects the artistic sense of cultural characteristic of their community has formed a rich mosaic that bring together their genuine value for art and heritage. Here are the five basic categories of decorative arts practiced by traditional Turkish handcrafters:

1. Textile-weaving is the Turkish handcrafters gift to the world of art. It is an ancient handicraft and emerged very early in all regions of Turkey where nomadic Turkish groups lived. The oldest known Turkish carpet is the Pazyrik carpet which dates to the 4th century B.C... It was discovered in a tomb in the Altai Mountains. Weaving can be every kind of cloth, carpet, rug, plait, and felt. Handcrafters use tolls like crochet needle, hairpin, needle, and shuttle to connect the fibers or spin thread. Turkish arts of textile-making flourished in places like Konya, Usak, and Bergama. These places are popular for their production of world's finest carpets.

2. Tiles and ceramics - The art of Turkish tiles and ceramics contributes a lot in the history of Islamic art. The strong development of tile art was fostered by the Anatolian Seljuks. In the 13th century Seljuk mosques, medreses, tombs, and palaces were lavishly decorated with tiles. Today, you can see the Seljuks tiles and ceramics handicrafts in Konya, Sivas, Alanya, Malatya, Erzurum, Kayseri, Beysehir, and Tokat. Anatolian Seljuks employed the use of glazed brick, mosaic tile, minai tiles and luster tiles. Anatolian Seljuk handcrafters used colors like cobalt blue, black, and eggplant violet for the glazed bricks. Mosaic tile on the other hand was formed by pieces of tile cut to shapes to fit the pattern intended. Handcrafters used the colors turquoise, cobalt blue, black and eggplant violet for the tiles. The minai tile-making technique was developed in the 12th century in ceramics. Minai tiles designs are lively and used themes taken from palace and court life.

3. Metalworking - Turkish metal working started during the Seljuk period. According to records, Turkish metalworking developed in the Konya and Artuklu regions. Today, these artworks can be viewed at Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Topkapi Sarayi Museum, and Konya Mevlana Museum. Turkish metalworking involves techniques using chasing, filigree, niello, cutting, openwork, inlaying, relief, and intaglio. The same technique was continued during the Ottoman period.

4. Wood carving - Anatolia has a rich soil that was able to grow plants like walnut, ebony, pear, boxwood, and hornbeam. These plants are durable and can withstand effects of temperature and vermin. This may be the reason why ancient handcrafters in Anatolia were expert in the techniques of wood carving.

5. Calligraphy and book-related arts - Calligraphy originated from Arabic countries, yet, it became advanced in Turkey. Turkish handcrafters popular in calligraphy are: Sinan Bey, Levni, Kalender, Hakkas Hasan Pasa, Nakkas Osman, and Nigari. Calligraphy had provided Muslim artists a leeway to express themselves in two dimensions. The art of calligraphy is a struggling art in the modern world yet, in the last century handcrafters like Tugrakes Hakki still made a great impact in this kind of art.


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