Traditional Arts in Turkey
Traditional Arts in Turkey
Traditional Arts in Turkey
Ebru-Anatolia Art of Marbling
Marbling is the art of creating colorful patterns by sprinkling and brushing color pigments on a pan of oily water and then transforming this pattern to paper. The special tools of the trade are brushes of horsehair bound to straight rose twigs, a deep tray made of unknotted pinewood, natural earth pigments, cattle gall and tragacanth. It is believed to be invented in the thirteenth century Turkistan. This decorative art then spread to China, India and Persia and Anatolia. Seljuk and Ottoman calligraphers and artists used marbling to decorate books, imperial decrees, official correspondence and documents. New forms and techniques were perfected in the process and Turkey remained the center of marbling for many centuries. Up until the 1920 s, marblers had workshops in the Beyazit district of Istanbul, creating for both the local and European market, where it is known as Turkish marble paper.
Turkish Calligraphy (Husn-i Hat)
Turkish calligraphy is a unique artistic creation although calligraphy itself is not of Turkish origin. Ottomans adopted it with religious fervor and inspiration, taking this art to its pinacle over a five hundred year period.
The literal meaning of the Turkish word for calligraphy (hat) is line or way. In essence, Husn-i Hat comprises the beautiful lines inscribed with reed pens on paper using ink made from soot. In the 13th century, Yakut-ul-Mustasimi,a calligraphist from Amasya, made a breakthrough in calligraphy by using nibs of various widths and sizes in one composition. Later calligraphists followed and developed his methods. Later, Sheyh Hamdullah, a famous calligraphist from the period of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, introduced major changes in the traditional seven writing styles and put the mark of the Turkish national character on Islamic writing. His followers further improved Turkish calligraphy over the centuries. Hafiz Osman, Mustafa Rakim, Yesari Mehmet, Sevki Efendi, Sefik Bey, Mahmut Celaleddin, Kadiasker Mustafa Izzet, Sultan Mahmut II, Aziz Efendi, Necmettin Efendi, Sami Efendi and Hamid Aytac are all noted Turkish calligraphists who contributed to the development of this art.
Turkish calligraphists have always made the paper, pens and ink they used. The paper used to be painted with natural dyes. Then it was polished with boiled starch and egg white. The paper dressed in this way allowed for easily correcting mistakes. Pens were made of hard reeds. Bigger pens (known as "celi") were made of wood. To produce ink, the calligraphists used to burn materials such as pine and linseed oils. Please see Writing Tools folder for the materials and tools used.
This is the name given to the art of producing very finely detailed, small paintings. In Europe in the Middle Ages, handwritten manuscripts would be decorated by painting capital letters red. Lead oxide, known as 'minium' in Latin and which gave a particularly pleasant colour, was used for this purpose. That is where the word 'miniature' derives from. In Turkey, the art of miniature painting used to be called 'nakis' or 'tasvir,' with the former being more commonly employed. The artist was known as a 'nakkas' or 'musavvir.' Miniature work was generally applied to paper, ivory and similar materials.
The miniature is an art style with a long history in both the Eastern and Western worlds. There are those, however, who maintain that it was originally an Eastern art, from where it made its way to the West. Eastern and Western miniature art is very similar, although differences can be observed in colour, form and subject matter. Scale was kept small since the art was used to decorate books. That is a common characteristic. Eastern and Turkish miniatures also possess a number of other features. The outside of the miniature is usually decorated with a form of embellishment known as 'tezhip.' A paint similar to water colour was used for miniatures, although rather more gum arabic was used during the mixing process. Very thin brushes made from cat fur and known as 'fur brushes' were used to draw the lines and fill in the fine detail. Other brushes were employed for the painting itself. White lead with gum Arabic added was applied to the surface of the paper to be painted. A thin coat of gold powder would also be applied to the surface to make the various colours transparent.
The oldest known miniatures were done on papyrus in Egypt in the 2nd century BC. Handwritten manuscripts decorated with miniatures can then be observed in the Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Syriac periods. With the spread of Christianity, miniatures began to be used to ornament the Bible in particular.
The development of the art came towards the end of the 8th century. In the 12th century, miniatures ceased to be directly linked in form to the text they were decorating, and also ceased to be exclusively religious in tone, with secular examples appearing. Beautiful and splendid miniatures continued to be created in Europe until the development of the printing press. After that time, they were more usually used in the form of portraits on the backs of medallions. After the 17th century, the application of miniatures to
ivory began to spread. Later still, as interest in the art of the miniature began to fall, it continued as a traditional art form among a small number of artists.
Great importance was attached to the miniature during the Seljuk period. Seljuk miniature was considerably influenced by Persia, on account of their close relations with that country. They also produced Abdüddevle, who painted a portrait of Mevlana, and other famous miniaturists. In the Ottoman Empire, the Seljuk and Persian influence continued up until the 18th century. During the time of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, a miniaturist by the name of Sinan Bey made a portrait of the sultan, and also trained another artist called Baba Nakkas during the reign of Bayezid II. In the 16th century, the artists Nigari, known as Reis Haydar, Naksi and Sah Kulu won considerable renown.
During that same time, Aka Mirek of Horasan, a student of Bihzad, was called to Istanbul and made 'basnakkas' or chief artist. Mustafa Çelebi, Selimiyeli Resid, Süleyman Çelebi and Levni were the best known miniaturists of the 18tth century. Of these, levn' constituted a turning point in Turkish miniature painting. Levn' moved beyond the traditional conception of the art and developed his own unique style. Under the influence of the renewal movements in the 19th century, Western art also began to affect the art of miniature painting. The miniature slowly began to give way to contemporary art as we understand the concept today. However, it still survives as a traditional art in Turkey, in the same was as it does in the West.
Iznik Tiles And Ceramic Art Of Turkey
Iznik is a lovely walled town on the shores of Lake Iznik. This is the ancient Nicea, named after Nikaia, wife of Lysimakhos, one of the rulers who inherited the empire of Alexander the Great. As an illustrious city unter the Greeks, Romans and Byzantines, who knows which plays were performed at Iznik's Roman theatre now being excavated, and which famous historic figures passed through its four gates, today known as the Istanbul, Gol, Yenisehir and Lefke gates. Early in the 13th century the Seljuk Turks
ruled the city briefly following which Iznik became the setting for major events in Byzantine history for another century. The city finally
came under Turkish sovereighty again, this time for good in 1331 during the reign of the second Ottoman Sultan Orhan Gazi.
The 17th century Ottoman traveller Evliya Celebi gives a detailed account of the town in his Chronicles. In his typical lively style, he describes its setting on the flat plain to the east of the lake, its walls, mosques and other monuments, shops and trade. After mentioning its vineyards, orchards, market gardens shaded by cypresses and olive groves, he continues, "Its china bowls, plates and jugs are greatly valued. All the decorated wall tiles in the land of the Ottomans are made in the city of Iznik. Words are incapable of describing the tiles ornamented like chameleons which are produced." While the events of political history, however important, are recalled only sporadically, art set its stamp on daily life so that its memory remains vivid. The chinaware of Iznik, an art which began here in Byzantine times and reached its zenith under the Ottoman Turks, is a striking example, and the potteries of Iznik played a central role in the town's destiny. During the Byzantine era the pottery of Iznik was similar to that made in many other regions of Anatolia but soon after the Turkish conquest, Iznik ware developed a distinctive style. Moreover production expanded significantly, as the potteries were turned virtually into imperial tile works manufacturing vast quantities of wall tiles for the Ottoman palaces, mosques and other monumental buildings which embellished the four corners of the empire.
In addition to tiles, the town's potteries continued to produce china ware for sale to the public as well as the palace. Large quantities of dinnerware were required on such occasions as circumcision ceremonies for the royal princes, such as in 1582 when festivities lasting 52 days and nights were held to celebrate the circumcision of Murad III's son Mehmed. When the 397 valuable Chinese porcelain dishes in the palace proved insufficient, 541 Iznik plates, bowls and dishes were purchased.
The blue and white Chinese porcelain and celadon ware which poured into the markets of the Near East from the 14th century onwards became extremely popular among the wealthy who could afford such precious objects.
Iznik's potters had to compete to survive, and they did so by imitating the Chinese designs from Yuan and early Ming porcelain, of which abundant examples were available. This was not difficult, since they were already acquainted with many Chinese motifs which had earlier influenced Timurid art. They began to turn out plates and dishes similar to the much admired Chinese porcelain, and before long had not only mastered these designs but began to give them new forms according to their own tastes. The result found favour not only within the Ottoman Empire but beyond, and some of the Iznik ware which has survived in Europe provides evidence that the Iznik potteries received orders from various European countries, such as articles bearing royal arms. Blue and white plates, bowls, lamps, candlesticks and other items made in Iznik during the 15th century are decorated in the style we now call Baba Nakkas, consisting of scrollwork and floral designs, which was popular during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (1451-1481). During the reign of his son Bayezid this style gradually began to change, with the incorporation of knotted interlacing and Chinese cloud bands.
When Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) conquered Tabriz, craftsmen from that city brought to Istanbul made their own contributions to Ottoman Turkish art. Among these diverse craftsmen weresixteen painters, one of whom, Sah Kulu, introduced the Saz style into Ottoman art.This was undoubtedly one of the most significant innovations in Ottoman decorative art. Not long after Sah Kulu began to work at the Ottoman palace workshops, in the early part of Suleyman the Magnificent's reign (1520-1566), the influence of his style begins to appear on Iznik tiles. Other distinctive designs of this era are those of the so-called Golden Horn wares consisting of spiral scrolls deriving from the tugra (imperial cipher) of Suleyman the Magnificent, and motifs borrowed from Chinese porcelains.Turquoise was added to the traditional Iznik palette of blue and white from the 1530s onwards. Iznik's potters developed a style which diverged significantly from that of the court decorators, and more over began to enrich their repertoire with human and animal figures and ship motifs. It must be remembered that apart from wall tiles made to order for the court, the potters made china plates, bowls, ewers, cups, vases, candlesticks,
lamps and many similar articles for public consumption, and for these the potters created their own designs. Drawing upon the new styles developed by the great court painters they designed new patterns of their own. From the 1540s onwards, mauve and purple also appear in Iznik designs, followed by green and the exquisite coral red unique to Iznik ware. These were used in the naturalistis floriate designs introduced into decorative art by the great 16th century master illuminator Kara Memi.
In addition to a wide range of flowers, pomegranates, artichokes and tree motifs occur in the compositions of this period. The finest Iznik pottery was produced during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent and up to the end of the 17th century.The tiles and other pieces were exuberantly decorated with hyacinths, tulips, carnations, roses, and stylised floral scrollwork known as hatayi, Chinese clouds, imbrication, cintemani (a design consisting of three spots and pairs of flickering stripes), and geometric patterns.
The Turkish Ministry of Culture proclaimed 1989 as Iznik Year, and numerous events and activities relating to Iznik pottery were held. Iznik has a special place in the history of Turkish art, and thanks to the efforts of Turkish Airlines and Turk Ekonomi Bankasi Iznik Year became Iznik Years. Researchers are continually discovering more about e beautiful type of ceramics, whose designs are enjoying a new wave of popularity.