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Copper Art

Turkish Copper Tray
Turkish Copper Soup Pot
Turkish Copper Pitcher
Turkish Copper Bucket
Sliced Turkish Copper Pitcher
Turkish Copper Brazier

Turkish metal artwork dates as early as the 2nd and 3rd century BC in central Asia. In Anatolia, the oldest existing Seljuk piece of metalwork is a silver tray with the inscription “Alp Arslan is the Greatest Sultan” and a silver candle stick dated 1137. Both pieces are at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Metal artwork reached its pinacle in the Ottoman Empire with the making of turkish-copper-ewer--1weaponry, such as swords, helmets, armour, dagger and knives. For domestic ware, copper or copper/zinc (tombac)was the material of choice although bronze, silver and gold were also used. A mass of copper would be beaten with a hammer (dogme) and turned into a slab, which would then be shaped by an artizan to the desired form. The choicest specimens of Seljuk and Ottoman metalwork can be seen at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. Like the other branches of art, the Ottoman art of metal at the outset took over the Seljuk cultural heritage, with the result that it became a melting pot for a variety of trends as befits an empire that combined many lands and peoples. The widespread implementation in the 14th century of the art of repoussé, familiar to us from Seljuk metalwork, is one of the outstanding features of the period The 15th century, when the Ottomans embarked on the path towards becoming a world power, and the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 especially, constituted a turning point in the art of metal as in many other fields. With the conquest especially of the Balkan lands, which were rich in gold and silver, the Ottomans acquired metalworking artists who possessed not only the raw material resources but also a long-standing tradition. Mamluk influence is observed in the oil lamps in the shape of hexagonal pyramids in a group of works typical of the period. The countless examples of such lamps, decorated with openwork, repoussé and intaglio and adorned with rumî and hatayî motifs, that have survived to our day show that they were produced abundantly in the second half of the 15th century. Candlesticks also occupy an important place among the metal work of this period. Among the Ottoman metal work that has survived to our day, a plethora of objects dating to the period of Sultan Bayezid II stand out. Although Bayezid II’s passion for valuable objects has been viewed by historians as prodigal, its impact on art was positive, and it is a fact that the creation of new works was a compelling force in the encouragement and patronage of artists. The Ehli Hiref or craftsmen’s organization, which served as a school for every branch of Ottoman art, was established in this period. Subsumed under it were the coppersmiths (‘kazganciyan’), who made metal objects; the goldsmiths (‘zergeran’), who produced jewelry of all kinds including gold; the gold inlayers (‘kûftgeran’ or ‘zernisan’), who produced gold inlay and other decorations, and the ‘hakkâk’ who cut and set precious stones. All these divisions of the Ehli Hiref had a role to play due to the great diversity of decorative techniques employed in the art of metalwork. As a result of the cooperation and work of the masters who brought diverse traditions and concepts of art to Istanbul from various parts of the Empire following the conquest of Tabriz and Egypt in particular, the Ottoman art of metal was purged of manifest influences in the mid-16th century and found its own unique style.

A number of decorative techniques were generally employed on the decorative objects made in this century including intaglio, repoussé, filigree, chasing, niello, embossing and metal plating. But the group that best represents the overall character of the period is without doubt that of the metal objects known as ‘murassa’ (studded with precious stones). It became fashionable in this period to embed precious stones in metal surfaces such as swords, daggers, book covers, slabs of emerald, natural crystal and even porcelain by using the technique of stone inlay. In contrast turkish-copper-decanter--1with the ostentatious style of the 16th century, there are also plain examples which stand out simply for their harmonious proportions and fine workmanship. Flowers also begin to appear alongside the classical 16th century styles in the decorative motifs of the 17th century. Emerging under Western influence, these are composed of floral motifs worked in Turkish style. Besides the traditional motifs such as the plaited frieze, tree of life, Seal of Solomon and fish observed on copper objects of the period decorated mostly using the intaglio technique, naturalistic designs such as tulips and pomegranate blossoms, familiar from silver objects of the period, are also encountered. The Ottoman art of metalwork, which is observed to have remained bound, in part at least, to the traditional forms at the beginning of the 18th century, continued the naturalistic style of the 17th century as well. Besides the western-oriented quest for form and motif, there was also a tendency to maintain the classical tradition. Late 18th century and 19th century metalwork in contrast appears to reflect entirely western taste. The classical Ottoman shapes and motifs of the 16th and 17th centuries eventually gave way to Baroque and Rococo forms and designs imported from Europe. The Ottoman art of metal, which was attempting to emulate Western products in this period, is observed to have been particularly successful in the technique of intaglio, of which it created fine examples in pieces such as the coffee sets, ewers, trays, jugs and mirrors that were so popular during the period. When examining the ‘Turkish Rococo’ products of the Ottoman art of metal, we see a transformation in taste. Pearls and cut diamonds supplant colored stones such as the ruby, emerald and garnet of the classical period in jewelry and inlaid work, and enamelling also becomes popular. Similarly, embossing with a mould replaces the more demanding technique of repoussé using a graver, which requires skill. As for the floral compositions, which are still used, these now take the form of sumptuous baskets with enormous bows and garlands made in keeping with contemporary fashions. The changing political and economic fortunes of the 19th century Ottoman world naturally affected Ottoman art as well. The gradual weakening of the Ehli Hiref organization in the palace and its complete disappearance in the 19th century spelled the end of the brilliant evolution of Ottoman art. As the state, with increasing frequency, sent the gold, silver and even copper objects in the Treasury to the Mint to be melted down, the extant specimens of the Ottoman art of metal, which had been based on the recycling of materials for re-use, began more and more to belie the richness cited in the sources. The objects that were able to be preserved in the Palace Treasury and other extant specimens, most of which survive only because they were donated to tombs and mosques.

You can see related products at: Turkish Copper & Bras

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Turkish Kilim

Anatolia Turkish Kilim
One of the typical Anatolia kilim with traditional patterns
Ushak Kilim - Turkish Rug
Since kilim motifs are passed from generation to generation, it is possible that Ushak designs date to the time of Troy
Ushak Kilim - Turkish Rug
Design of the kilim originates from Bergama (western Turkey), where stand the ruins of ancient Pergamum--an urban center in the Trojan era
Kagizman - Turkish Kilim
Geometric medallions and a dark and rich palette of browns, reds, blues and yellow are characteristics of Kagizman where is a district of Kars in the Northeastern Anatolia
Kocboynuzu - Turkish Kilim
This rug is from 60 to 90 years old, and was probably made as a traditional dowry piece
Turkish Kilim
Aydin (one of the old cities in Anatolia) rug with natural pattern
Ushak Kilim - Turkish Rug
Kilims woven in the Ushak and Denizli areas are known for a special design: pairs of hand or comb motifs facing the center of the rug.

The Kilim is a truly remarkable tradition maintained by women of Anatolia for hundreds of generations, dating back nine thousand years. Turkish mothers and daughters maintained this mysterious tradition for the last thousand years as Turkish tribes settled in Anatolia and intermingled with the local population. The oldest record of kilims comes from Catal Hoyuk Neolithic pottery circa 7000 BC, the oldest settlement ever to have been discovered. It is located south east of Konya in the middle of the Anatolian region. The excavations to date (only 3% of the town) not only found carbonized fabric but also fragments of kilims painted on the walls of the houses. The majority of them represent geometric and stylized forms that are similar or identical to other historical to contemporary designs.

You can see related products at: Kilim Rugs

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The Art of Turkish Textiles

Turkish Pillow
Tarditional pattern, maden of silk
Silk Suzani Cushion Cover
Embroideries are made of silk and have very fine workmanship
Silk Suzani Pillow Cover
Tarditional pillow cover of Anatolia
Silk Suzani Pillow Cover
Maden of silk, back has cotton cover with a zipper in the center
Turkish Pillow
Colourfull patterns, hand made, silk and cutton are used

Turkish fabrics are unique in weaving features, materials used and designs reflecting Turkish taste. Research on the subject identified about six hundred and fifty names such as Kadife, Atlas, Gezi, Canfes, Selimiye, Hatayi, Catma, Seraser, Sevayi, etc. The main material was silk with gold and silver threads, rich in motifs such as flowers (tulips, carnations, roses, spring blossom, and hyacinth), trees (apple, date palm, cypress), animals (peacock, deer), crescent moon, star motifs, fruit (pomegranate, apple, date, artichoke, pineapple), etc.

silk-suzani-pillow-cover-1_0An excellent reference on the subject is “The Art of Turkish Weaving”, by Nevber Gurusu, Redhouse, Istanbul, 1988 with an extended list of additional resources.The geographical situation of Ottoman territory has always made it a natural trade route for merchants plying between the East and West, and from the very earliest times Bursa has remained a lively centre of trade and commerce. Textiles were given great importance in the Ottoman court and were registered as belonging to the treasury. The demand by members of the court for luxury fabrics was an influential factor in the increase in production and rise in quality. It was from the Palace that all the arts were orientated and retained under the control of a single centre. The principles to be obeyed by all groups of tradesmen were contained in the regulations in the Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul laws governing trades and markets ((Ihtisab kanunameleri) of 1502. A very large section of these laws applied to weavers, and to silk weavers in particular. The methods and the standards to be applied in obtaining the raw material, in spinning the thread and dyeing the material were clearly laid down. The number and weight of the warp threads, the main factors by which the quality of the fabric was determined, were also clearly established. Craftsmen failing to comply with the required standards were liable to punishment. Moreover, the gold and silver threads used in textiles had to be drawn in workshops (simikeshaneler) under direct state control and bear the official control seal. The state was responsible for pressing the cloth after it had been removed from the loom. The cloth was finally measured, its length checked and stamped, and permission was given for its sale. All this was carried out by officials (muhtesip) under state supervision. The state was also assisted in this work by the control exercised by the guilds over their own members. There can be no doubt that these various controls provided the basis for the excellence achieved in 16th century fabrics.


Textiles were divided into three categories-cotton, wool and silk. Although a great deal of cotton was produced in Anatolia, it was not sufficient to meet the demand and cotton was also imported from the East, India in particular. The same applied to wool supplies. Broadcloth was manufactured in Salonica from the 15th century onwards, but as this was used in both civilian clothes and military uniforms local supplies proved insufficient and cloth always had to be imported from western countries such as France, England, Italy, Holland and Hungary. On the other hand, the mohair produced from the 16th-17th centuries onwards in the Ankara region, a type of cloth that was always very eagerly sought after, not only satisfied the local demand but was also exported in very large quantities. An inferior type of cloth of rather cheap affinity to European serge, was very popular among the common people. Silk is a costly fabric which requires a great silk-suzani-pillow-cover-1-1_0deal of labour, the raw materials for which are very difficult to obtain. There is documentary evidence to prove that the silkworm was being cultivated in Bursa and the surrounding countryside long before the arrival of the Ottomans. Bursa was thus an important commercial centre in which silk thread was both produced and woven in quantities sufficient to meet the requirements of both the domestic and foreign markets. Bursa was the most important of all the centres of the silk-weaving industry, including Istanbul. The main types of silk fabric can be classified as taffetas, satin velvets, brocades, kemhas, dibas and serasers. Among other types of more lightly woven silks canfes (a fine taffeta) and burumcuk (a kind of silk crepe) may be cited.The Turks were superior in weaving of silk fabrics, in which the colours, motifs and compositions employed resulted in productions of quite incredible beauty. The favourite colour was a dark crimson known as guvezi. This colour was used mainly as a ground, in perfect harmony with the blues, creams, greens and black fibres with which it was woven. An incredible harmony was produced between strongly contrasting colours. Turkish designs are most clearly distinguished from Iranian in particular by the sharp contours and ornamental patterns around the motifs . Natural motifs such as tulips, carnations, hyacinths, roses, hatayis, pomegranate blossoms, spring blossoms, pine cones, the sun, the moon, clouds and stars are naturalistically rendered and clearly-recognizable, creating a very lively and attractive composition. The brocade cushion covers of the 16th-17th centuries and the 18th century embroidered cushions displaying the same designs arouse the interest and admiration of all who see them. As many varieties of silk fabrics as possible are displayed in both the permanent and temporary exhibitions at Topkapi Saray. The exhibits are selected mainly from the collections of catmas, silk velvets, serasers, serenks, satins, velvets, kutnus, canfeses and burumcuks. Catma is a kind of velvet fabric with a double ground and raised design. In the 16th century the fame of Bursa catmas spread far beyond the confines of the Empire, Although a very costly fabric, it was in great demand in foreign markets and was one of Bursa’s most important exports. It was also very popular on the domestic market and occupied an important place among the gifts presented to foreign heads of state by envoys and ambassadors. This is the reason for the large number of catma cushion covers in European and American museums. The Ottoman kemha fabric known to westerners as “brocade”, was also very popular abroad. It was a silk fabric with a double ground very often with an admixture of wire thread. In the 16th century, orders were placed for this type of fabric for use in papal robes and the ceremonial apparel worn by the imperial entourage. Papal costumes made from Ottoman brocades are found in museums and church treasuries. There were large numbers of kemha and catma weaving workshops in both Istanbul and Bursa, and a plan of a workshop specializing in the production of these particular fabrics is found in the palace archives. From the 17th century onwards, Ottoman art began to reveal a growing Western influence. This period is characterized by compositions consisting of large and small fan-shaped carnations and sprays of flowers covering the whole of the surface.

You can see related products at:  Turkish Pillow Covers

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