EnjoyIstanbul Blogs

Just Enjoy Istanbul

You are currently browsing the archives for May, 2013.

Turkish Delight – Lokum

Luxury Turkish Delight With Hazelnut
Pasha Turkish Delight Pistachio
Turkish Delight With Almond
Petite Turkish Delight With Pistachio

Lokum has been produced at first in Turkey in the XVII century and an English traveller has brought it to Europe, where it became well known as Turkish Delight. Also at the present time Turkish Delight is one of the delicious and most popular special characteristic sweet.

Turkish delight or Lokum is a family of confections based on a gel of starch and sugar. Premium varieties consist largely of chopped dates, pistachios and hazelnuts or walnuts bound by the gel; the cheapest are mostly gel, generally flavored with rosewater, mastic, or lemon. The confection is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar, copra, or powdered cream of Tartar, to prevent clinging. Other common types include such flavors as cinnamon and mint. In the production process, soapwort may be used as an emulsifying additive.

You can see the related pruducts at: Turkish Delight

Add a comment

Mini Jazz Concert at Istanbul Metro

Is not it funny to listen to live jazz music while traveling with subway? Some lucky passangers of Istanbul’s metro experienced this feel.

BUMK Jazz Choral Society members (Bogazici Universitesi Muzik Klubu, Bosphorus University Music Club) had prepared an enjoyable suprise to people who was traveling with Istnabul’s metro. During the travel time of  two stations, sudenly they started to sign a Jazz music.

Here is this funny video, enjoy it…

Add a comment

Turkish Evil Eyes

Square Paper Weight
Some of the daily tools are also designed with evel eyes
Star Paper Weight
Made from glass with evel eye pattern
Turkish Evil Eye
Bracelet, Glass Wall Hanging, Small Shoes
Turkish Evil Eye - Keychain
Keycains with colourfull evel eyes

In Turkey, wherever you look, you’ll meet plenty of eyes looking at you. Glass evil eye beads. It is common in the Turkish culture to give a gift of a blue nazar Boncugu (nazar boncuk) or the evil eye bead as it is more widely known. People hang a small evil eye amulet from the rear view mirror of their car, keep several small evil eye beads or evil eye charms on hand to give to guests, hang an evil eye near their door in the home or office. Glass evil eyes are worn, in the form of jewelry; evil eye bracelet, evil eye necklace, evil eye anklet, gold or silver evil eye charms and evil eye pendant, evil eye earring – ring and blue evil eye talisman… Here it is a real evil eye bead paradise.

You can see related products at: Evil Eye Ornaments

Add a comment

Uzbek Suzani

Uzbek Suzani
All colors are produced from natural dyes, including indigo, madder, skins and barberries (brown/ black) ets.
Uzbek Suzani
Patterns thought to have derived from pre-Islamic times and to have been influenced by Zoroastrianism and cosmological signs and symbols
Uzbek Suzani
Traditional Uzbek folk art. This decorative embroidery panel was hand-stitched by women using age-old traditions
Uzbek Suzani
This suzani is a vintage dowry piece, 10-20 years old and gently used by the villagers who made it.
Uzbek Suzani
Any small imperfections like tears, spot and smell may be considered proof of its authenticity.
Uzbek Suzani
Birds, fishes, trees, fruits Herbs and knives all allude to the early symbolic content of purity, fertility, curative powers and protection from danger and evil spirits

The term suzani is used to describe the embroidered panels of Uzbekistan and Khojand Province of nor them Tajiki­stan. Traditionally the work of embroidery began at the birth of a daughter and continued, with the help of family and friends. Until the bride’s dowry was complete. The dowry of a bride from a well-off family in Nurata was expected to include ten suzani is of different sizes and functions. They were used as covers for the bridal bed and the brazier as dividers between living and sleeping quar­ters, as well as for prayer rugs and wrapping cloths. And although nomadic influences are sometimes apparent most suzanis were the products of a settled urban tradition.

250px Prokudin Gorskii 42Today great efforts are beingmade to renew these techniques and traditions which languished during Soviet times. Dr Ilhom Davletov is one of the pivotal figures leading the revival!. Born in Urganch in 1959, he studied medicine in Tashkent and worked at the Medical institute there for six years. Where he specialized in rheumatol­ogy but his life changed after independence. In 1991 all borders were opened and Ilhom traveled to Istanbul. Amazed at the number of Uzbeks selling suzanis and antique carpets, he wanted to join them. This ultimately led to a successful\ second career as a dealer in Central Asian carpets and textiles.

After a century of synthetic dyeing, moving back to natural dyes proved difficult. But determined to continue with this venture he sold five hundred of his antique carpets to raise enough capital to begin a 10caJ suzani revival without any state involvement.

The beginnings were difficult. While traveling through the country he repeatedly asked the women in the villages if they had any type of handwork remaining in their homes – old or new – but the response was always negative. With his wife Sulfiya a graduate of the Textile Institute, he decided to set up a workshop in the Museum ofApplied Arts in Tashkent and invited fifty women from villages in the Nurata region to learn the old techniques. with all expenses paid for two months. Only one, Emina Sharipova accepted. After perfect­ing the techniques she returned to her village and began to work soon becoming the envy of her neighbors. Little by little others came Emina now supervises six groups of fifty women each. Other workshops beganto open across the country and today Ilham employs almost three thousand women in areas of Urganch, Nmata,Samarkand, Andijan and Baisun.Their wages are higher than those of the state and bonuses are given for high quality.

Cir12The process begins in the Tashkent workshop where the ground material woven in the Fergana Valley is chosen; cotton and silk (adras). cotton and cotton (karboz), and silk and silk(shoyi). being the choices. In the antique examples the backing was invariably hand woven cotton but at the turn of the 20th century, imported Russian cotton. Colored silk and ikat were introduced. The cloth was sometimes given a bath of tea or onion skins before embroidery began.

In IIhom’s workshop between two and six strips of fabric are used for the backing each measuring between 35 and 50 cm (ı4″-20″) in width, depending on the desired size of suzani. They are loosely basted together and the patter is then drawn with a marker on the fabric; previously. They were drawn with a reed. Differ­ent women embroider the individual panels before they arereassembled on completion. This explains the irreg­ularity of patterns at the seam line and color differences from section to section.

Although patterns motifs and color can of ten give c1ues to area of origin. It is increasingly difficult to estab­lish provenance and give precise dates of creation. As dowry items, suzanis were often kept safely in chests as prized possessions. Produced only on special occasions, which accounts for their often pristine condition In addition the foundation doth, may have been woven years before it was actually embroidered.

Patterns thought to have derived from pre-Islamic times and to have been influenced by Zoroastrianism and cosmological signs and symbols may have evolved into the floral motifs that are prevalent today. Pattem names still speak of their early history. yi/duz pa/ak (starry sky) and oi pa/ak (lunar sky) to name a few. Birds, fishes, trees, fruits Herbs and knives all allude to the early symbolic content of purity, fertility, curative powers and protection from danger and evil spirits, although litde written documentation remains.

Ilhom uses the old suzani patterns of Bukhara, Shah­risyabz, Nurata, Khojand, and Baisun areas, employing mainly three stitches: yurma (chain-stitch) done with a needle or with a crochet hook. tambur. When used this stitch makes the colour appear particularly rich because of stitching adjacent rows in opposite directions. and is of ten used to outline a form but used excursively in many of the suzani is from Bukhara./roqi (cross-stitch) is used by itself and in combination; half cross-stitch is used as a filling stitch. Basma (satin stitch) is also used alone and combined with others.

Cir13Dyeing takes place in the Tashkent workshop. All colors are produced from natural dyes, including indigo, madder, skins and barberries (brown/ black), pomegranate skin and turmeric (yellows). sumac (maroon) and combinations of the above. Most colours are mordanted in alum for 2+ hours prior to dyeing; ferric oxide is sometimes used to fix red. And copper oxide to fix yellows; ammonium phosphate is used with indigo.

There are of course many other people who are also continuing this tradition. Dilbar Khalimova in Bukhara has been working with natural dyes in the production of suzanis since a visit to Indiaseveral years ago. Her workshop is in the Bukharan Artisans’ Development Centre, and is supported in part by the city of Bukhara. Sayfullah Majidov of Shafrikan heads an NGO called Centre for the Centre for the of Rural People that also works with village women producing suzanis, although i was unable to visit his workshops. This year another small workshop was set up in theMuseum of Applied Arts in Tashkent, where Sulfiya, Ilhom’s wife, teaches students who are anxious to learn the art of making suzanis. It is heartening to think that women in hundreds of communities throughout Uzbekistan are relearning an ancient craft.

One further thought: since this work is being produ­ced for the commercial! Market, women in each area of the country are not able to concentrate on their own ancestral patterns but rather are asked to employ motifs from other areas as well. Will this serve to dilute their artistry yet further or will it lead to a true revival? Where once again mothers, daughters and neighbors will join forces to create the flowering gardens of the future?

From ‘HALI’ Issue 137

You can see related products at: Suzani Embroidery

Add a comment

Turkish Tea

Apple Tea Set
Another apple tea set, ready for boiling
A Glass of Tea
Special Turkish design glass filled with tea, ready for drinkig
Apple Tea Set
In Turkey, anytime is tea time! Our traditional apple tea is caffeine-free, and enjoyable from morning to midnight
Turkish Tea
Black Turkish Tea grown without utilizing pesticides, so it is pure natural

It is hard to imagine breakfasts, social gatherings, business meetings, negotiations for carpets in the Grand Bazaar, or ferry rides across the Bosphorus in Turkey without the presence of tea. With tea servers in streets, shopping malls, and parks shouting, “ÇAY!” (chai) the beverage is always within shouting distance. It is fundamental to Turkish social life and plays a large role in Turkey’s domestic economy. Tea in Turkish Social Life Although tea passed through Turkey as part of the Silk Road trade in the 1500s, it did not begin to become a part of daily life until nearly four centuries later. In 1878 Mehmet Izzet, the then governor of Adana, published the Çay RişŸalesi (Tea Pamphlet), touting the health benefits of drinking tea. Although coffee was still the preferred hot beverage during this period, the consumption of tea began to spread as tea houses opened in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. Also, tea became a cheaper alternative to coffee; one could purchase four glasses of tea for the price of one cup of coffee.

Today, Turks have one of the highest per capita consumption rates of tea, averaging about 1,000 cups per year. This high rate owes itself to the availability of places to consume tea, social customs and traditions, and domestic production along the Eastern Black Sea coast. Travel to any town in Turkey and you are sure to find a tea house or a tea garden. In smaller towns and rural areas, tea houses are the preferred social hub where news and gossip are exchanged. In the larger cities and touristy regions, tea houses welcome the young and old, as well as many foreigners. Tea gardens, another social venue for drinking tea, gained popularity in the 1950s, especially in Istanbul, and were the place where families went for their social outings. It is important to note that the Turkish tea garden is very different from a Japanese tea garden. Whereas the latter is quiet and serene and was developed in conjunction with the Japanese tea ceremony, Turkish tea gardens are hubs of social activity with kids running around, music playing, and lively conversation among various groups from students, to businessmen to retirees and foreigners. In the rural areas of Turkey, tea takes center stage at social events. A Turkish Bridal Shower, sometimes referred to as a gelin hamami because it is held in a Turkish bath, involves taking samovars of tea and pastries for all to enjoy. Five o’clock tea time is also observed in Turkey, particularly among house wives. Preparation and serving Turks prepare tea using a double tea pot. Water is boiled in the lower (larger) pot and the loose-leaf tea is steeped in the top (smaller) pot. This method allows each person to drink the tea as they desire: strong and steeped, or light with lots of water added. In central Anatolian towns such as Amasya, and in Eastern Turkey, tea is prepared in a samovar. Turks prefer to drink tea in small tulip-shaped glasses. Though the origins of this shape are not known, the clear glass allows the drinker to appreciate the crimson color of the tea. The tea glass is so important in Turkish life it is used as a measurement in recipes. As you pass tea gardens and tea houses you will hear the clinking of tiny tea spoons in the tea glasses. In large cities like Istanbul, and the capital Ankara, tea may be served in porcelain cups and mugs as in England and the United States, but the small tea-glass is by far the container of choice. Generally, two small sugar cubes will accompany tea that is served in public. In Erzurum and other towns in Eastern Turkey, tea is taken in the “KITLAMA” style, where a lump of sugar is placed between the tongue and cheek. Turks never add milk to their tea; sometimes lemon may be preferred Production Turkey’s serious attempts at cultivating tea began in 1917 in the Eastern Black Sea town of Rize. However, due the Turkish War for Independence, it was difficult for the Government-appointed agricultural engineers to gain the residents’ support, which was critical to the endeavor’s success. In 1924 the Government passed a law stating that tea, oranges, and filberts would be raised in Rize. However, it was not until the mid- to late-1930s that the Government placed a strong emphasis on cultivating tea. The first large scale cultivation occurred in 1937 when 20 tons of seeds were brought from Batum in the Georgian Republic, and planted at the central green house in Rize, yielding 30 kilos of tea.

Tea cultivation began to spread and become an inextricable part of economic life along the Eastern Black Sea Coast, so much so that towns began to change their names to have the word “Çay” in them: the town of Mapavri became Çayeli and Kadahor became Çaykara. By 1965, the production of tea had satisfied the domestic market and Turkey began to export its tea. Çay-Kur, the Directorate of Tea Establishments was founded in 1971 to coordinate both the cultivation and processing of tea, and in 1973 it went into active operation. Çay-Kur aimed to expand tea cultivation, stay abreast of innovations in tea processing technology, and import and export tea as necessary. Çay-Kur enjoyed a monopoly over Turkish tea until 1984, when tea processing and packaging were opened to private enterprise. Today, Turkey is the world’s fifth largest producer of tea, behind India, China, Kenya and Sri Lanka. Along Turkey’s Eastern Black Sea Coast tea bushes stretch from the border with the Georgian Republic to the town of Rize, Turkey’s ‘tea capital’, and extend farther westward toward Trabzon. Over 200,000 families are involved in the cultivation of tea either as owners of tea “plantations”, sharecroppers, or employees in the nearly 300 tea producing factories. All tea is produced from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis; it is the amount of fermentation that determines whether the tea turns out to be black, oolong (semi-fermented) or green (unfermented). A unique feature of Turkish tea is that no chemical substances or additives are used in the production process. Although black, loose-leaf tea is preferred in Turkey, green tea is slowly gaining in popularity due to its health benefits.

You can see related products at: Turkish Coffee, Tea & Spice Sets

Add a comment

Basilica Cistern

Floor of The Basilica Cistern
The floor of the cistern is always filled with water
Marble Columns
Hen's Eye, slanted braches, and tears..
Medusa Head
One of the two Medusa Head pillar
Medusa Head
Two of medusa head pillar
Path Way
There is a path way for tourists to travel
General View
General view of the Basilica Cistern
There are 336 marble columns
Basilica Cistern Columns
Columns of the cistern and the path-way

Taking visitors to the tranquil depths of Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is the city’s largest covered reservoir. Built in 532 AD on the site of a great basilica, the Basilica Cistern once supplied water to nearby palaces such as the Great Palace of Constantinople and Topkapi Palace.

Also known as the Sunken Palace, the underground site takes up 9,800m2 and has the capacity to store up to 100, 000 tons of water. The water which fed the Cistern came through a viaduct, which connected the source of supply at Belgrade Forest to the Basilica Cistern, a distance of about 19km. Five meter thick walls surround the Cistern and are specially coated to ensure waterproofing.

Its domed ceilings are held up by intricately designed marble and granite columns which vary in style between Corinthian, Doric and Ionic. There are 336 columns in all, arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns.

There are two columns of particular interest at the Basilica Cistern; those bearing the head of Medusa. Medusa is a female monster from Greek mythology with hair made of snakes, which is said to have turned those who looked at her into stone. She was beheaded by the hero Perseus who then gave her head to Athena to use as a weapon on the top of her shield as a way of averting evil.

 Medusa’s upside down head is found on the base of one column. There are various theories surrounding why her head was placed upside down, but many believe that it was done to ward off evil spirits.

Next to the upside down head is another head depicting Medusa which has been placed sideways. Why the two heads were placed in different directions has only served to deepen the mystery, but some think that placing the heads in the same direction would give rise to evil forces.

Massive restoration was required to make the Basilica Cistern as visitor-friendly as it is today. In 1985, 50,000 tons of mud was removed from the site and walking platforms were constructed; in 1994, another revamp was carried out.

Now, visitors can stroll along the platforms and watch resident goldfish swim in the Cistern’s cool waters. The Basilica Cistern also houses its own candlelit café, where soft lighting and classical music contributes to the overall atmosphere of the place.

Nowadays, Basilica Cistern has gained another fame in people who like to read the novels of Dan Brown. At his last book named with “Inferno”, Bailica Cistern is one of the fantastic places which usually hide clues of a secret.

Add a comment

Ayasofya (Haghia Sophia) Museum

Central dome candles of the museum
Inlay Mosaic
Virgin and Child flanked by Justinian-I and Constantine-I
General View
South inlet panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia
Angle picture in the historic museum
Hagia Sophia Museum
Panoramic view of Hagia Sophia Museum
Inside View
Inner panoramic view of the Hagia Sophia museum

Haghia Sophia Museum is located in Sultanahmet across from Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Considered one of the finest architectural works in the world, it was originally built as a church. Construction began during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine 1, but was only completed in AD 360 during the reign of Constantine II.

The first Haghia Sophia was partially burnt during an uprising. It was repaired by Theodosius II and opened to worship in 415, but was burned to the ground during another public uprising in 532.After the revolts, Emperor Justinian determined to build an unparalleled place of worship and entrusted two architect-engineers from Anatolia, Isidoros and Anthemios, with the task. Building materials were brought in from all the Mediterranean countries. In addition, the columns of a number of Pagan temples in Anatolia, including the Temple of Artemis, were dismantled and used in the building. The construction lasted five years, and Haghia Sophia was once again open to worship. The structure standing today is that which was built as a church by Justinian. Haghia Sophia was occasionally damaged, but was repaired and additions were built. Despite the changes, its essence remains untouched.

Haghia Sophia experienced its darkest days during the Latin occupation, it was looted, damaged and a number of its valuable furnishings were removed and taken to the churches of Europe. When the city once again passed into the control of the Byzantines, the church was in terrible condition. Using limited resources, efforts were made to restore it. It was then badly damaged in the earthquake of 1344 in which parts of it, including a section of the dome, collapsed. The increasingly impoverished Byzantines were unable to repair it and it remained closed for a period. Through the levy of special taxes and collection of donations, the church was once again repaired in 1354. Despite these efforts, Haghia Sophia was not to return to its full glory after the Latin occupation until the conquest of Istanbul. Immediately following the conquest of the city, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror went directly to Haghia Sophia. But it was in ruins. He decided on that day to convert the church to a mosque, and thus a new period began for Haghia Sophia.

From the first day it became a mosque, Haghia Sophia became a place of enormous significance for Muslims living within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, as well as others. For hundreds of years it has symbolized and been a reminder of the conquest of Istanbul.

The Conqueror created various pious foundations with the aim of ensuring revenue and constructed a mihrab (mosque niche), minaret and medrese. Haghia Sophia was shown special attention after the conquest, and the additions built on its grounds turned it into a great ‘kulliye’ or religious complex. One minaret was added by Sultan Beyazit II and a second by Sultan Selim II. Sultan Mahmud I added a reservoir for ablutions, a primary school, a soup kitchen, a library, a chamber for sultans and a mosque niche. The mosaics were completely plastered over, previously, only the faces had been covered. During this period a number of sultans and members of royalty were buried in the complex. They include: Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III, Sultan Mehmed III, Sultan Mustafa I and Sultan İbrahim. Haghia Sophia underwent minor repairs during the Republican period, but was left relatively alone during the war years. American scientists obtained permission from the Turkish government to uncover the mosaics in 1932. While these works were underway, Haghia Sophia was changed to a museum in 1934 and opened to the public in 1935. Haghia Sophia presently functions as a museum.

The dome of the Haghia Sophia, believed to represent the infinity of the cosmos, is most impressive. To think that this dome was built in the 530s contributes even more to the importance of the mosque. Despite being damaged, the mosaics found within Haghia Sophia are among the most precious in the world. The additions of the Ottomans, far from spoiling its original beauty, have only reinforced its magnificence. The calligraphies, on plates 7.5 meters in diameter, the stone work, which gives it a lace-like appearance, and the glazed tiles are all priceless. The primary school, tombs, fountains and reservoir which make up the complex are also of major significance from an architectural standpoint.

Nowadays, Hiaghia Sophia has also gained interest from readers of Dan Brown who is the famous author of the worldwide best-seller “The Da Vinci Code”. At his last novel named with “Inferno” begins in Italy’s Florence, then moves on to Sienna and ends in Istanbul, with approximately 100 pages devoted to ancient sites in Sultanahmet including Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, the Galata Tower and the Spice Bazaar.

Ever since the novel’s release, Istanbul’s appeal and draw to the writer has been mentioned regularly in the world press. “Inferno picks three of the world’s most strategically significant, antiquity-rich cities as its settings, and Langdon makes a splendid tour guide and art critic throughout,” writes The New York Times.

Add a comment

Miniature Arts

Ottoman Miniature Painting
Distinctive features of Ottoman miniature
Story of The Painitng
Important events of the day and circumcision feasts are conrened with paintings
Miniature Painting
Actual events adhered to the traditional canons of Islamic art
Miniature Portrait
Ottoman girl is painted with miniature art
Mevlana, Sufi
Miniature painting of Hz.Mevlana
Miniature of Semazen
Portrait of a Semazen with sufi whirling

The basic characteristics of form, design, colour and representation in Turkish art developed primarily in the realm of miniature painting. The Turkish miniature style was influenced by many trends and developed over the centuries from the empires of Central Asia to the Seljuks and from the foundation of the Ottoman Empire to the conquest of Istanbul and the Tulip era. It was during the Seljuk era that miniature painting attained the stature of national art. It was during this period that Nakishane (schools of embroidery) were established. An exchange of miniature artists about the same time between Turkey and Iran further influenced these arts in both countries.

miniaturearts2The Ottoman style in miniatures made itself evident in the 15th century, leading to the production of classic examples in the 16th Century. The romantic scenes of landscaping in Persian miniatures were simplified in Ottoman miniature by the reducing detailed landscape scenes to plain backgrounds. Human figures, buildings and other main elements of the subject predominated. In classical Turkish miniatures, lines are straight, colours are vivid and the style is narrative. Miniature art is known for its strongly built heroes, simplicity, selection of themes from real life and the powerful concept of colour. The most important studies on miniature painting after the Republican era began were carried out by Ord. Prof. Süheyl Ünver. Courses are supported by the Ministry of Culture with a view towards popularizing the art. Work on miniatures is carried out in Istanbul, Ankara, Konya, Izmir, and Kütahya provinces. Turks had the tradition to illustrate manuscripts during the cultural periods before Islamic belief. Paper that could be rolled started to be made in China with plant fibers in 105 B.C. No written or illustrated document has yet been found from the time of the Chinese Han dynasty, of Huns and Göktürks. Nevertheless, the large quantities of stone engravings, textiles, ceramics, works of art made of metal, wood, leather which have survived to the present day, prove that the above mentioned cultural circles were quite developed in other fields of art. The oldest examples of Turkish pictures for walls are from the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries. The withering influence of natural conditions have prevented the survival of these first examples. The conquest of Istanbul was the first step into a new phase of the Ottoman cultural life. The characteristics of the period in the field of paintings and miniatures may be summed up as the meeting of the eastern and western painting schools, as the widespread interaction and communication and as the widespread availability of display. While the Italian painters called by Mehmet the Conqueror continued their activities, Turkish artists—on the other hand—carried on the domestic traditions. We can see this dual influence in the works of Sinan Bey from Bursa, who was the pupil of Hüsamzade Sunullah and Master Paoli. Meanwhile, upon closure of the Heart academy for painting in the beginning of the 16th century, its famous instructor Behzat was met with a deserved esteem in Tabriz in 1512. His pupils began to produce works in his style. Their works reached the gates of Istanbul. Sultan Selim Iran and Aleppo to Istanbul after the seizure of Tabriz and he ordered his men to create favourable conditions for those artists’ work. Soon after Shah Kulu from Tabriz was leading these artists in an academy which was called by the Turks “Nakkashanei-i Irani” (The Persian Academy of Painting). “Nakkashane-i Rum” (The Ottoman Academy of Painting) was established upon the reaction of the Ottoman painters. It goes without question that the period beginning with Mehmet the Conqueror and ending with Sultan Selim I, was one of the most interesting and important phases in Turkish painting and miniatures. Various styles and ways of expression were searched, the influences were a guide and syntheses were attained. Now we shall take a look at the Turkish Academy during Süleyman the Magnificent reign. Turkish miniature lived its golden age during that period, with its own characteristics and authentic qualities. The most renowned artists of the period were Kinci Mahmut, Kara Memi from Galata, Naksi (his real name Ahmet) from Ahirkapi, Mustafa Dede (called the Shah of Painters), Ibrahim Çelebi, Hasan Kefeli, Matrakçi Nasuh, Nigari (who portrayed Sultan Selim II and whose real name was Haydar: he was a sailor).

You can see related products at: Ottoman Miniatures

Add a comment

Laminated Paper in Calligraphy

The dictionary definition of the Turkish word murakka “patchwork” or “collage” is a thin, stiff, unbendable cardboard obtained by layering a number of sheets of paper with their grains perpendicular to one another, using a technique similar to that of plywood today. The finished paper on which calligraphers produced their work was then affixed on top of this, after which the work was framed and decorated. The term murakka was also employed for albums which consisted of joining together a few small samples of calligraphy know as kit’a (section). Today, the heavy paper known as cardboard was unavailable from paper sellers, and as a result it was prepared with great effort by book binders who were engaged in book crafts. Using a special technique, this cardboard manufactured by layering sheets of paper one on top of another was as flexible and as tense as a bow. Manufacture of cardboard in this way was referred to as “tensing cardboard”.

You can see related products at: Ottoman Calligraphy

Add a comment

Iznik Ceramic & Pottery

Iznik Design Ceramic Bowl
Decorative Ceramic Bowl with flower design
Plate - Iznik Design Ceramic
Tree of Life design (it symbolizes the life)
Bowl - Iznik Design Ceramic
Decorative ceramic bowl with flower design
Decanter - Iznik Design Ceramic
Decorative ceramic decanter
Ceramic Egg - Iznik Design Ceramic
Handpainted decorative ceramic egg
Jar - Iznik Design Ceramic
Classical iznik design ceramic jar
Fish Palte - Iznik Design Ceramic Plate
Fish of Anatolia's seas and freshwaters

The second half of the 16th century which is named as the classical age of Turkish art during Ottoman rule, was the most magnificent period for ceramics as well as the other handcrafts. The white paste products in ceramics which had started with the blue and whites had reached the summit of their developmental phases during 1549. The three lugged lamp, which originally belonged to the Omar Mosque in Jerusalem and which is now displayed in the British Museum, bears the production date and place on the inscription panel on its pedestal. This inscription reads Iznik: 1549. The most important final phase of the Turkish ceramic art also started with a three lugged lamp made for the Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul which was completed in 1557. This example is on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. One of the richest collections of the world related to that period is kept in the Tiled Kiosk, Istanbul which has been converted into the Museum of Turkish Building Tiles and Ceramics. This third stage of our building tile and ceramic art continued until 1608.


iznik-design-ceramic-plate-1Iznik workshops applied underglaze technic during this period of extraordinary success which started with the Blue-and-Whites. This period attained a unique level in worldwide tile and ceramic art with its design and colour scale. The geometrical design of the Seljuk inheritance was completely dispensed with in the embellishments whereas the palmettes and leaves were still used. The plant motifs of the classical age were drawn on the white undercoats. A superficial abstraction is dominant in the naturalistic plant designs. The main examples of Nature motifs were carnations, tulips, plum blossoms and branches in full blossom, pomegranates, peonies, broken leaves, rosettes, roses, bunch of grapes, acanthus leaves, vases and birds with black, thin countermines.The white, tile paste prepared with a great amount of silica is given form on the pottery lathe, then it is dried in the sun and baked in the oven at a degree of 800-1000+C. When it cools, a white, thin kaolin undercoat is applied. The decorations aredrawn and coloured on this undercoat and then it is reovened to fix the colours. It is then glazed with thin, transparent lead-glass and the final baking takes place. The cobalt or sead blues, turquoises, manganese violets, chrome greens, slightly raised coral and tomato reds and their various tones on white ground which are painted underglaze, give a colour drunkenness to the admirers as well as the artist himself. There are no cracks on the glaze. Motion and dynamism are in full balance and symmetry both in the designs and the colours. Each motif is a whole in itself whereas it is also an unseparable part of the eternal whole. Celi and Nesih styles of calligraphy are often seen in these embellishments. The decorated surfaces of the Ottoman polychrome pottery made by underglaze technic are embellished with white and pale blue over either indigo or light brown. They are made with raised and coloured undercoat and black underglaze colouring is also seen. Thus, they have a special characteristic with these qualities. The coloured undercoat decoration technic under transparent, colourless glaze, has been successfully applied in building-tiles as well as pottery, as can be witnessed by an example displayed in the Tiled Kiosk Museum, Istanbul. This technic is another development of that period. According to documents and books giving information about that period, forty five of the sixhundred artists working for the court were painters and designers.

iznik-design-ceramic-jar-1The composition of decorations to be applied on the inner or outer surfaces of artistic architectural works were prepared by those artists. The preliminairy sketches were presented to the court by means of the head architect and the necessary approval was obtained. Imperial edicts and orders take place among the archives documents related to the Iznik tile workshops. In these documents dated 1575, 1578, 1588, not only the list of ordered products, but also the inventory of the tiles and pottery stocked in the depots are mentioned. Furthermore the names of the production supervisors and the artists are also written. The workshops that gave priority to the orders of the court and its close circles were more than 300 during that period. Those workshops met from time to time the demands for export and the foreign orders. The export port was Lindos in Rhodes. Some European researchers have been misled by the Rhodes stamps on the ceramics and they have mentioned these as Rhodes tiles and pottery in their publications. Some of these ceramics also bear the coats of arms of foreign families. It is understood from the samples that in addition to the Iznik production center, the workshops in Kütahya and Haliç, Istanbul successfully produced ceramics. The recession in Iznik and the decadence of the workshops started in the beginning of the 17th century. The colours lost their vividness. The coral and tomato blues darkened. Quality deficits and cracks on the glazes began. The attractiveness was lost. The net lines of the contours were dispersed. The political regression was felt most at the Iznik tile workshops among all the handcrafts. The decadence was completed when financial support ceased and the producer families were scattered away. The later attempts to revive did not give successful results. The level of the second half of the 16th century was never attained. Since the production technic details were kept secret, and the technical development knowledge was not mentioned in written documents, an important gap of information was formed for the following generations. The attempts for revival required thoroughly new efforts and these efforts could not be a substitution for the traditional training passing from one generation to the next.

You can see related products at: Iznik Ceramics & Tiles

Add a comment