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3.2. Decorative Arts

 

Decorative Arts

Decorative arts in the life of the Turks go back to the first century B.C. The most striking examples of decorative art were produced during the Seljuk and Ottoman periods in enamelled tile making, miniatures, filigrees, marbling, coloured glass making, calligraphy, gilding, engraving and glass and repousse work. Being entirely applied arts, these forms were regarded as crafts rather than art. Though styles were many and varied, artists never signed their work.

 Laminated Paper in Calligraphy

The dictionary definition of the Turkish word murakka "patchwork" or "collage". The term was applied to 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.

Tensing Cardboard

In tensing cardboard, the type of paper is of great importance. Paper which becomes deformed when it gets wet is never employed. The paper used for this purpose must be strong. The fact that the fibbers of paper show a tendency to become lax and lengthen predominantly in one direction is a natural result of its manufacture. This tendency to become lax or lengthen in one direction is referred to as the paper's grain. Paper which becomes lax and lengthens returns to its former length when it dries. It is just on this aspect of paper that cardboard is tensed.

The paper which is to be converted into cardboard is prepared by being cut into different sizes of length and width, one according to the other. The piece of paper among these with the smallest dimensions represents the useful area. As the number of layers in the cardboard increases, so does its strength and thickness. Once bookbinders have learned how many layers of paper are required, they prepare it according to order.

Both sides of each paper cut in different measurements is dampened with a wet sponge. Then without immediately drying it is rolled up to encourage it to become lax and made to wait for fifteen minutes. This waiting period is known as "tempering the paper".

This sheets of paper are affixed one on top of another in order from the smallest to the largest on a smooth, flat board which lacks any knots. In the past, the wood of the linden tree was preferred for this board. The dimensions of the board must be greater than those of the largest sheet of paper used.

In layering the paper, a number of matters need attention, Unless precautions are taken according to the paper pulp, the composition of the ink, whether the calligraphy is new or old, and whether or not there have been corrections, and one simply affixes the paper at random, one will be destroying the work.

A flour or cornstarch mixture is preferred in the layering of the paper since the possibility of separation exists when the paper is dampened. Cornstarch is mixed with water and cooked until it achieves the texture of a pudding, and then should be left to "rest" for a few days. To prevent damage by worms and similar vermin, a bit of alum was also added to the cornstarch. After the mixture is cooled, it is strained to eliminate any lumps, and is thus ready for use. The smallest piece of paper which is still damp is spread out and placed on the center of the board. A very thin layer of the paste mixture is spread over the upper surface and worked thoroughly into the paper. Adhesive is spread over one side of the next larger sheet of paper at another place, and taking care that no air intervenes, the larger sheet is very slowly placed over the one below. In this layering process, care is shown in placing the second sheet so that it overlaps the first by an equal amount in every direction. In this way, the second sheet is attached both to the first and to the board by means of the excess around it edge. Another sheet is placed over the second and then rubbed by hand to remove any excess intervening paste or air bubbles. If the same process is desired for several layers, these are affixed in the same way. Following this, the cardboard is left to dry in the shade to allow the moisture to evap orate. It is essential here that the paste be equally distributed everywhere. If this is not ensured, the more rapidly drying areas will warp, while there will be cracks in the paper where it does not dry. In tensing cardboard, the order of pasting the paper may also take place from largest to smallest, in an order reverse of that described above. In that case however only the bottommost sheet should be affixed to the board by its overlapping edges.

After the cardboard has thoroughly dried, a thin layer of the same paste is then applied to the reverse of the paper containing the calligraphy, and this is affixed by centring it on the tensed cardboard. After this has all dried, ornamentation takes place by one skilled in that art, or the work is affixed to marbled paper. If any air remains trapped during the tensing, this must be removed before drying by piercing the locations with a needle, other wise that spot will remain unglued. All this care notwithstanding, a wavy surface is observed in some types of cardboard on account of incompatibility in the paper. This is known as "lumpy cardboard."

Album Collages

All the sections which are to become part of the collage are tensed as usual and layered, then illumination is carried out. All the sections are cut to the same dimensions and placed side by side. They are surrounded on three sides by a thin strip of leather or cloth and affixed to one another. This also prevents the edges of the sections from being damaged.

This double section is attached at the bottom to another double section which is also bound with a leather or cloth strip. After all the sections have been connected the collage is bound in the classical way. Collages made in this way are known as "Flat Collages", "Book Collages", or simply "Collages".

If two adjacent sections are attached to one another only at the bottom, then it ill be possible to open all the sections at once and see them and then to fold them again in a zigzag. Collages of this type are known as "Accordion Collages".

The reason that collage were preferred starting from the 15th Century onward must be that they lasted for a long time and they made it possible for various bits of writing to be collated. Collages were also made as albums of miniatures and illumination, but we see that it was most often carried out for the art of calligraphy. Collages also made it possible for calligraphy models, eulogies, prayers, holy verses, and hadith to be placed in an orderly pagination arrangement. The signatures of the calligraphers are generally to be found at the end.

We find sülüs, nesih, muhakkak, tevki, talik, and reyhani styles in collages. Below lines written in the sülüs, muhakkak, and nesih, reyhani, and rikaa styles using a finer nib. It is possible that a holy verse, hadith, or word begun in one section might terminate in the middle. In that case, these would be continued in the next section.

In addition to this, there are also collages which consist of composites of sections which have nothing to do with one another and which are done by different calligraphers. These are known as "Compilation Collages".

The collages adorning our museums and libraries with both their calligraphy and their decorations await the research and attention of their enthusiasts.

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 Turkish Carpets

Carpets, whether knotted or flat woven (kilim) are among the best known art forms produced by the Turks from time immemorial.There are environmental, sociological, economic, and religious reasons for the widespread art of carpet weaving among the Turkish people from Central Asia to Turkey.

The geographical regions where Turks have lived throughout thecenturies lie in the temperate zone. Temperature fluctuations between day and night, summer and winter may vary greatly. Turks-nomadicor pastoral, agrarian or town-dwellers, living in tents or insumptuous houses in large cities-have protected themselves from the extremes of the cold weather by covering the floors, and sometimes walls and doorways, with carpets. The carpets are always handmade of wool or sometimes cotton, with occasional additions of silk.These carpets are natural barriers against the cold. The flatwoven kilims which are frequently embroidered are used as blankets,curtains, and covers over sofas or as cushion covers.

In general, Turks take their shoes off upon entering a house. Thus, the dust and dirt of the outdoors are not tracked inside.The floor coverings remain clean, and the inhabitants of the house,if need be, can comfortably rest on the floor. In the traditional households, women and girls take up carpet and kilim weaving as a hobby as well as a means of earning money. Even technological advances which promoted factory-made carpets could not hamper the production of rug weaving at cottage-industry level. Although synthetic dyes have been in use for the last 150 years, handmade carpets are still considered far superior to industrial carpeting.

Turkish carpets are among the most sought after household items all over the world. Their rich colors, warm tones, and extraordinary patterns with traditional motifs have contributed to the status that Turkish carpets have maintained since the 13th century. MarcoPolo, who traveled through Anatolia in the late 13th century, commented on the beauty and artistry of the carpets. A number of carpets from this period, known as the Seljuk carpets, were discovered in several mosques in central Anatolia. These were under many layers of subsequently placed carpets. The Seljuk carpetsare today in the museums in Konya and Istanbul. It is very exciting to imagine that we may be looking at the very same carpets that Marco Polo praised in the year 1272.

Turkish carpets in the 15th and 16th centuries are best known through European paintings. For example, in the works of Lotto(15th century Italian painter) and Holbein (16th century Germanpainter), Turkish carpets are seen under the feet of the Virgin Mary, or in secular paintings, on tables. In the 17th century, when the Netherlands became a powerful mercantile country, Turkish carpets graced many Dutch homes. The Dutch painter Vermeer represented Turkish carpets predominantly to indicate the high economic and social status of the persons in his paintings. "Turkey carpets,"as they were known, were too valuable to be put on floors, exceptunder the feet of the Holy Mother and royalty.

Anyone who enters a mosque has to take off his/her shoes. The mosque is the common house of a Muslim community, therefore, shoes are cast off before the door. Moreover, the ritual of prayer requires the faithful to kneel and touch the ground with one's forehead in humility before God. There are no chairs or benches in a mosque,only carpets. A Turkish mosque is often covered "from wall to wall" with several layers of carpets. To deed a carpet to a mosque is an act of piety and many Muslims do so. Prayer carpets that are small enough to be carried easily accompany many Muslim travelers. The Muslim, wherever he or she is, upon determining the direction of the Ka'aba in Mecca, lays down the prayer carpet and through the ritual of prayers communicates directly with God.

The Turkish carpets have exuberant colors, motifs, and patterns.No two carpets are the same; each one is a creation from a new.Because traditionally women have woven the carpets, this is oneart form that is rarely appreciated as being the work of a known or a specific artist. Nevertheless, the Turkish women silently continue to create some of the most stunning examples of works of art to be distributed all over Turkey and the world.

World Famous True Silk Carpets
Hereke Carpets

Hereke carpets which are an inseparable part of our national cultural accumulation are woven in the town of Hereke from where their name is driven and in the Izmit Bay region. Hereke carpets are recognised by this name in the carpets literature and they have an extraordinary place among world carpets.

These carpets which form a special group in our carpet weaving art and which are known by the name of "Palace carpets", were woven in workshops within the royal palace or belonging to the court during Ottoman period and they were made for the Sultans and their close circles. The court subvened looms the first examples of which we find during the Seljuk period, were established in Usak, Gordes, Cairo, Bursa and Istanbul in 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The Hereke factory which was installed as a royal plant in accordance with Ottoman industrial policy in 19th century, started to work on textiles, but later carpet weaving took the dominance. These carpets made for the palaces and great mansions, were designed by court artists and made in various workshops. The artisans organised within "Artisan lodges" have reached a unity in styles and motifs. Later carpet designers have created new designs that conformed with royal tastes and authentic Hereke designs and compositions have derived from those.

Although "Palace", "Yoruk" and "Turkmenian" carpets have the same functional characteristics, they totally differ from each other in their styles. Stylised designs dominate tribal carpets, whereas naturalism is prevalent in Palace rugs due to the technological possibilities which gives way to more complex designs and motifs In our day, Hereke carpets which are the best and finest silk rugs in the world, have gained a great fame because of these characteristics. The standard norm for the number of knots in 1cm2 is 10x10=100. Since the number of knots in 1cm2 is considered as the criterion for the fineness of the carpet, they form the standard norm of the kind of carpet in question. In recent years the standard fineness has been developed through technological novelties and has reached the number of 24x24=576. Carpets with this characteristics, look like magnificent cloths with their fine weaving. All of these work, are the pride of Turkish carpetry and masterpieces of collective workmanship.

The Silk Prayer Carpet in Mevlana Museum

Among the masterpieces in Konya Mevlana Museum is a silk prayer carpet which has to be seen, to be appreciated. Many visitors to the museum have heard of its fame before they come; or they say to each other:

"Have you seen the carpet with 144 knots to each square centimetre? It's supposed to be the finest woven carpet in the world."

The silk prayer carpet is well known, and it is one of the most popular works in the Mevlana Museum. Whatever its value may be, those who see it gaze in wonder.

The silk Prayer Carpet is exhibited in a wall case left of the altar niche in the Mescid of Mevlana Museum. It measures 175 by 111 cm. and was woven with wool, silk and silver thread. The colours used are black, red, navy blue and yellow, and the narrow borders are decorated with rumi motifs. Its wide border is decorated with flowers and roses, on each side is written two couplets in Persian. At the top of the carpet is a picture of the Kaabe in Mecca, and the bottom are flowers and hatayi motifs.

That is the description of the prayer carpet. But when, where and by whom was it woven, and how did it get to Mevlana's Tomb? Before answering this it is necessary to look at the poem in Persian written on the carpet: "This prayer carpet was woven with the help of that high being who followed the path of the prophets, carefully completed near the grave of the children of the prophet. It was laid in the place of worship of the exalted shah who is the protector of canonical law, and the shadow of God. This shah is such a prince of religion that he is as great as Alexander and thousands of Alexanders are his subjects and slaves."

As this poem tells us this Prayer Carpet was woven near the grave of the children of the prophet. This is Kerbela, where the grave of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Huseyin is situated. Although the name of this ruler is not written on the carpet, in a museum directory published in 1930 it is written: "This Prayer Carpet was presented to the Tomb of Mevlana by an Ottoman sultan upon his return from a journey to Iran."

The name which immediately springs to mind is Yavuz Sultan Selim, because he had always felt a great interest in the Tomb of Mevlana in Konya, and visited it on several occasions between his journeys to Egypt and Iran. At each visit to the Tomb the sultan would bring some gifts or have something made for the Tomb. He had fountains constructed, and water brought from the region of Dutlu. Just as he visited Konya on April 24, 1516 around the time of his campaign against the Persian Shah Ismail, so he was again in Konya on June 26, 1516 before he set out on his Egyptian campaign. A manuscript by Yusuf Dede in Mevlana Museum tells about the valuable presents given by Sultan Selim to the Mevlana Tomb, when he visited Konya on his way back from campaign, such as lamps, grave cloths, and other valuable objects. It is documented that the silk prayer carpet in the museum today was presented at this time by Yavuz Sultan Selim. It must have been woven in Kerbela for the shah to use during his worship. This means that the prayer carpet is at least 460 years old.

The most interesting thing about the carpet is the fact that it has writing on it. Writing was first used as a decorative element in carpet design during the time of the Anatolian Seljuks. The carpets woven in Konya during the Seljuk period often had decorative Cafic writing on the borders. These are the first examples of inscribed carpets. In later periods the technique spread from Konya to Anatolia and from here to Iran, and after the 15th century this systematic development led to a style of carpet decorated with writing which formed a special group in the eastern art of carpet making. In the 17th century carpets decorated with couplets began to be seen frequently. These carpets were usually woven for palaces or mosques, and examples of them can be seen in museums both in Turkey and abroad. The silk written prayer carpet in the Tomb of Mevlana, the gift of Yavuz Sultan Selim, is one of this group, but the oldest and finest among them. The fact that the carpet was never displayed, but immediately put away in a box can be seen from the worn lines where it was folded. In 1927 when the Tomb was opened as a museum this prayer carpet was removed from the box and displayed in a glass case.

According to experts on carpets, the Silk Prayer Carpet has 144 knots per square centimetre, thus making a total of 2 million 197 thousand knots in all. It is estimated that the carpet took five years to weave.

The Silk Prayer Carpet shines like lamps illuminating the mystic atmosphere of the Mevlana Museum, and every day hundreds and thousands of visitors stop to gaze at it The utmost care is taken to preserve the shining, unfaded colours of the carpet which is like a bouquet of flowers among the other prayer carpets on exhibit. For the carpet the hands which wove it and the sultans which knelt on it are like a dream, but now it must be living happier days in Mevlana Museum.

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 Anatolian Carpets & Kilims

Our Traditional Cultural Heritage:
Anatolian Turkish Hand-Woven Carpets and Kilims

Turkish knotted carpets and flat-weaves occupy a very important place in our cultural heritage as ethnographic documents relating to the Turkish inhabitants of Anatolia in each succeeding epoch, like all other such historical documents, carpets and kilims clearly reflect the values of the period in which they were made. It is thus essential that priority should be given to precautions to be taken without delay in order to preserve these old carpets and kilims from wear and decay and, at the same time, to prevent their being smuggled abroad.

The textile fragments, weaving tools and dye materials yielded by archaeological excavations corroborate the theory that flat-weaves have been produced in Anatolia since the Neolithic period, but the amount of material so far obtained is not sufficient to provide an answer to questions such as how and when flat-woven or knotted rugs were first produced. Nevertheless, the fact that the earliest specimens of knotted carpets so far discovered were found in Turkish regions in excavations carried out on Turkish burial mounds confirms the belief that this type of rug was first woven and used by the Turks.

The way of life and philosophy of the Turkish tribes and nations who occupied the vast expanse of territory extending from Central Asia to Anatolia were enshrined in the thousands of colours and motifs incorporated in fabrics that have preserved their expressive power and character to the present day. From this point of view, Turkish carpets occupy a very special position in our cultural heritage.

The individual weaving forms and techniques to be found in the traditional Turkish hand-woven carpets, the significance and symbolism of the motifs and the dyes and colours employed, all reflect the socio-cultural and socio-economic values of the period in which they were produced.

The motifs and colours typical of Turkish carpets and kilims constituted an important medium of expression for the weaver and his community. The values of the period to which it belonged may be reflected in the twist and quality of the wool, the manner in which the dye was manufactured and from what plants or insects it was produced, the fineness or looseness of the stitch and, most important of all, the symbolic significance of the motifs and the aesthetic dimensions of the stylisation. Turkish hand-woven carpets may thus be regarded as source material for the study of the anthropology, ethnology and ethnography of the periods to which they belonged, as well as of the general technical and economic background.

Carpet-weaving, carried out on various types of looms without the benefit of modern appliances and demanding most meticulous handling at every stage of its production, from the preparation by the old traditional methods of the warp, weft and knot to the application of the natural dyes, is one of the few Turkish handcrafts to have continued with the same scrupulous application to detail right up to the present day.

Apart from the dyeing and weaving, which form the technical basis of the knotted carpet, the most important feature from the point of view of the cultural heritage involved is the nature of the motifs employed. The Turkish craftsman possessed the ability to imbue his hand-woven fabrics with his own identity, his social position and communal traditions. The marks stamped on the tents and horse-covers in the high-lands and summer pastures which are also to be found incorporated in their fabrics, have survived in their fabrics, have survived in the form of aesthetic variations the first inventors could never have foreseen. That is what distinguishes the Turkish carpet so very clearly from all other carpets in the world.

All Turkish carpets, from those of Eastern Turkestan to those produced in Baluchistan, Khorasan, the Caucasus and Anatolia, are characterised by the distinctive designs that raise our traditional handcrafts to the highest artistic level.

The motifs employed in Turkish carpets are so varied and can be classified into so many subcategories that they constitute, as it were, a great fan stretching from Thrace to Kars. From the Sivas region emerge the Sarkisla, Zara, Kangal and Divrigi carpets characterised by a remarkable wealth of symbolic expression forming one of the links in the rich chain of Turkish tradition. Motifs differing markedly in form and detail can be found in Anatolian kilims from Yagcibekir to Dosemealti, from Kula to Çanakkale.

The most important distinguishing feature of the motifs employed in Anatolian carpets is the "symbolisation" imposed by the traditional weaving techniques. The linear values of these woven fabrics constitute the symbolic representation of the ideas which the Turkish woman wishes to express. Perhaps it would be an exaggeration to say that all the motifs employed in carpets and kilims bear a symbolic significance, but it is usually possible to find a hidden connection between the "visible motif" and the "under lying motif". The symbolic values conferred upon the objects are stylised by the Turkish weaving technique itself. The language of the motifs is the language of any-one who can understand.

Each of the Turkish carpets and kilims produced by a very natural process under certain conditions and in the course of a certain period bears the mark both of a certain period bears the mark both of a cultural heritage and a work of art, but it differs from other works of art in necessitating an evaluation of the weaver and his world.

The motifs employed in Anatolian Turkish carpets have never been over-uniform in character. In their long migrations, the tribes and peoples adopted what was "good" and "true" from the cultures with which they came in contact. The "double S" motif in the skirt of the garment worn by Warpalawas in the rock relief at Ivriz dating from around 1250 B.C. can be found in a number of Sarkisla carpets that we have dated to the 16th century.

What is the present condition of these valuable old carpets and kilims which, for the reasons given above, occupy cuch an important place in our traditional heritage and cultural history? But before answering that question we should perhaps ask ourselves what, apart from the carpets and kilims preserved in the museums and archives belonging to the Ministry of Education and the General Directorate of Pious Foundations, we really know of the extent of the legacy we have inherited? Moreover, although hundreds of carpets and kilims are carefully preserved in the rich collections housed in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, the Vakiflar Carpet and Kilim Museum, the Topkapi Palace Museum and the Konya and Sivas Museums, there would appear little we can do to halt the gradual disintegration and disappearance of the carpets and kilims scattered here and there in remote corners of Anatolia. It is thanks to the Turkish tradition of pious endowments that rugs other than those that have remained in the house in which they were actually woven have managed to come down to us from the depths of the past. The benefactors who with their own modest resources, built the mescits to be found in even the smallest village, also furnished them with rugs and kilims, and to these were added several of the finest specimens produced over the centuries by the looms in the various houses. There were also a number of prayer-rugs and carpets specially woven for the mosques, to which they were duly presented. It is thanks to this tradition of pious endowment that our cultural heritage of carpets and kilims has survived to the present day.

Wool is a fragile material that wears very quickly even under normal conditions, and many of our carpets were left for centuries in damp corners under the worst possible conditions, without any thought of their value and without the slightest attempt to air and maintain them. Even at the present day, torn pieces of valuable old carpets and kilims are placed under stoves, on thresholds or ablution stools, or nailed on wooden stairs. All the rugs in a particular mosque are sold off to make way for a large machine made carpet covering the whole interior. Or if we don't actually sell them, we barter them for wood or coal. As for carpets that have been carefully preserved by the personnel of the mosque, as in the Great Mosque at Sarikisla, we resort to all sorts of expedients to prevent them being stolen by people who could gain a great deal of money by their sale.

Carpets and kilims are the most attractively presented of our cultural goods and the easiest to smuggle abroad, while the recently implemented free market regime regarding items of an ethnographic nature even further facilitates illicit sale. The Very restricted powers of control with which the museums are endowed combined with the very small number of experts in this field makes it relatively simple to smuggle these valuable carpets and kilims abroad. No inventories have been drawn u of the valuable old carpets and kilims in Anatolia apart from those in the museums, and we are continually being amazed to find our most valuable carpets appearing in advertisements in various European and American magazines and periodicals.

There are now a number of very useful institutions in Turkey, such as the Turkish Cultural Research Association, the Society for the Encouragement of Turkish Carpet-Weaving and the Turkish Carpet-Weaving Foundation that make it essential that we should look at the whole problem in a new light.

Carpet-weaving is of great cultural and economic importance, and judicious investment in this field could provide employment for millions of workers at home and, by using the "Turkish Image", create a wide market abroad. But to regulate the future of a cultural sector one must first have a very good knowledge of the culture itself.

Anatolia might be decried as a vast treasure-house of the most valuable carpets and kilims. Those reproduced in these pages represent the few remaining specimens to have survived to the present day under the most adverse conditions. One might very well compare them to the fragmentary remains from Catalhöyük, Bogazköyü or the Kubadabad Sarayi. The whole history of the Turkish people is incorporated in their colours and motifs.

1.This topic has been reviewed in the light of the paper entitled "Suggestions concerning measures to be taken for the prevention of theft and damage with regard to the old carpets and kilims in Turkish moques" presented at the "Symposium on the smuggling, damage and preservation of old objects of historical or cultural value."

2.As a supplement to the work of Kurt Erdmann and researchers belonging to his school on the history of knotted carpets, see the several works published by Prof. O. Aslapanapa. S. Yetkin and N. Diyarbekirli.

Ladik Carpets

Throughout the ages, the people of Anatolia have reflected their handiwork, their labours, and their assiduity as cultural and artistic sensitivity and love in the form of carpets, kilims, pillows, and tapestries.

The people of Anatolia have successfully imbued these hand-woven works with the unique qualities of the region in which they live, and with the strength of their art, their taste, their world view, their longings, and their love they have managed proudly to present these within a philosophy of existentialism to future ages.

18th century Ladik carpet with ewer and tulip motifs.
The most important of the carpet centres consisting of Usak, Gordes and Kula reaching back into the ages past of Anatolia is Ladik. Ladik carpets, woven for trousseaus or prayer are one Turkish carpet which is eagerly sought by museums and collectors everywhere in the world.

In Ladik carpets there exists an image and spirit, a richness of form and design, and a harmony of colour of the utmost brightness and liveliness. In general, ladies and young girls weave rugs and carpets in Anatolia. When we examine Ladik carpets we understand that the young girls are not weaving them for the purpose of selling them and earning money. Nor is that the purpose of their mothers or fathers. As a form of education and as a preparation for motherhood, during the preparation of the marriage items which we refer to as the trousseau and while readying their embroideries, their tablecloths, their stockings, and their embroidered headdresses they direct their daughters towards the weaving of carpets which require more patience, more time, and more proficiency -that is more skill-than these. And the daughters do it willingly. It is a fact that Ladik is a region which is rich in agricultural resources. For this reason, the people of Ladik have not tended towards commercially inspired carpet making. They have adopted only the weaving of carpets and pillows as trousseaus, gifts, and as an artistic force. From the Sixteenth Century down to the last fifty years, they have presented their most beautiful examples of this.

In Ladik carpets we witness to the full the taking form of repose, affluence, and happiness. The richness of colour as well demonstrates their optimism, the fact of their kind words and smiling face. A carpet weaving girl from Ladik most beautifully reflects the feelings inside herself in a work she weaves as if she were preparing a painting, whose wool she has clipped from the sheep of her own parents flocks, whose dyes she has boiled from plants from her own pastures, and whose yarn she has spun and dyed. Within a wealth of nature and the utmost in prosperity and sensitivity, a carpet weaving girl from Ladik infuses her maidenhood longings into these carpets with each and every knot. In Ladik carpets, each colour speaks a different language. Yellow expresses passionate love, yellowing and fading away. Green, as is usual, is one's goal. Blue is hope. White is cleanliness and happiness. Black expresses sorrow, while pink expresses innocence. In Anatolian rugs and carpets, colours also have their own forms of expression, their own things to say. The special quality of each region finds its most beautiful form in its rugs, carpets, and kilims.

What we refer to as root dyes, the dyes employed in rugs, are obtained from the leaves of various plants, from their roots, and from their fruits. Red is obtained from the bark of the red pine and from the leaves of the hazelnut tree; yellow and its varying tones from broom and from the flowers, stems and roots of plants such as sumac, spurge, and saffron; brown from the bark of gall oak and black oak, black oat root, leaves of the walnut tree and walnuts; green from wild mint; black from sumac and soot; blue from jute. Every region in which carpet weaving is carried out possesses pasturage where the dyes used for dying wool may be obtained. Such pasturage is called boyalik (literally; "dye pot"). The plants used for obtaining dye growing in these pastures are specially raised, and these formulas have over the centuries entered the daily lives of carpet weavers, and thus Anatolian carpet making has always characteristics. Designs have the same quality. These designs are virtually the mirrors of the latitude and longitude of the people of the region. Among Anatolian carpet weaving, Ladik carpets generously present to all viewing them their wealth of design and form in the form of a magnificent composition. A Ladik carpet is like a book. No matter what side you look at it from, you may read it with pleasure. It is like a letter, sometimes bringing good news. Sometimes in the complementary intertwining of red and blues it gives voice to a joy of living with its sweet colours. The brown tending towards copper infuses a feeling of confidence. The nested geometric design in the form of rectangles is a symbol of the garden of the heart. The young girl of Ladik embellishes this garden of the heart with symbols and signs of all the possessions she wants. A carnation is an indication of desire. Flowers and stars are happy looks at the future.

In Ladik carpets, the colours and designs are the most lively expressions of a national tradition. Every line speaks a different tongue. The stylised animal figures in motif form are the form of ancient Turkish totems reflected in carpets. The symbols of luck and prosperity in the form of hooks, the health charms, the snakes and dragons, the convolutions, the birds, stars, flowers of paradise, and such symbols of articles as combs, rakes, ewers etc. bespeak all the beliefs, the whole spiritual world of the people of Ladik. Among other Anatolian motifs are also included figures of the stylised dragon referred to popularly as tilsim (charm) which is a symbol of health and happiness, the peacock known as the bird of paradise the mythical simurg (the Emerald Phoenix) which symbolises charity towards people and help for the needy, the double headed eagle, rooster etc. known to have been a totem among ancient Turks and representing the ruler and his authority. In carpet, the spike of grain expresses prosperity; the rose, tulip, carnation and other flowers represent the gardens of paradise; the branching flowers represent the infinity of life (the Tree of Life); the cypress tree represents eternity (reincarnation) owing to its permanent verdure as opposed to the ephemerality of life. The pomegranate and its flower is the fruit of paradise. In Anatolia it is considered sacred.

Ladik carpets generally have a mihrab on them, which shows that the love of worship and pious belief is widespread in Ladik. Various from of the mihrab are visible in Ladik carpets. The stepped arches of the mihrab, the lanterns hung from it, the varieties of their chains, the candlesticks placed at either side, the ewers for performing ablutions are all characteristic of these carpets. The ewer is a symbol of belief in the need to perform the ritual ablution and for cleanliness. An ewer containing a flower, sometimes takes the shape of a vase, and is beyond colour, letters, and voices. The candelabra and the lanterns swinging like pendulums right in the middle of Ladik carpets spread the good news of an endless and boundless light.

Priceless examples of Ladik carpets woven for two hundred fifty years by the hennaed fingers of the women of Ladik adorn museums. Whether in Karapinar in the vicinity of Konya, in Kavak, Karaman Kizillar,Inluce, or Sille, the colours of the rugs, their designs, their borders, and their motifs continue on and on with a habitually which undergoes little change. The principle designs and compositions are part of a whole. The carpets of Ladik must be held separate from this view. A variety of colours, ranging from pale pink to copper red, pearl white, and Seljuk indigo, with a variety of models and motifs smile at us from various Ladik carpets in the softness of their wool. The great majority of Ladik carpets are woven as prayer rugs. For this reason, when one thinks of Ladik carpets the mihrab comes to mind, as do a variety of mihrab compositions. When you look at one Ladik carpet, the mihrab is as wide as possible, lacking a single mark on it. One might race a horse on this field of Ladik red. On another mihrab its four corners are decorated with flowers like a garden of one's heart's desire, and one's eyes find not a place in which to take a step. Another carpet is wholly washed in a state of snow-white sacred belief. Or you might look and see that our carpet weaving girl from Ladik has woven on the loom of her heart a carpet which, with is three great carnations and powder pink involutes gives us a "good morning!" look, extending its hands in supplication.

One must admit one fact. Ladik carpets, which are made entirely of wool, are not knotted very tightly, in fact they are loose. This is some what due to the curly nature of the woollen carpeting yarn; unlike cotton thread, woollen yarn is not entirely straight. As both the warp and woof are of wool, a loose weave must have been chosen to prevent puckering or wrinkling.

Because of Ladik carpet making. Ladik carpets have for ages been the pride of Anatolian carpet making and have taken the leading place in museums, carpet books and catalogs. As for Ladik carpet making today, it is entirely divorced from its old tradition, and partly owing to economic reasons never goes beyond imitations of Sivas and Kayseri rugs, unfortunately. Though with regularisation and revival Ladik carpet making could earn much for the country's economy. This sacred duty we must perform in the shortest possible time. This we are obliged to do.

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 Iznik Ceramics

Second half of the 16th century Iznik Ceramics

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 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 are drawn 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. The 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.

The examples to be found in the museums and in private collection/gain value and they are considered rare works of art in the world antique markets.

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 Traditional Arts Using Glass

Distinguished examples of glasswork left behind by Anatolian civilizations today illuminate the history of glass.

Stained glass in various shapes and forms was developed in the Seljuk period.

After the capture of Constantinople, the city became the center for glasswork during the Ottoman period. Cesm-i Bülbül andBeykoz are two of the techniques from that period that still survive today. Accessories and implements such as oil lamps, tulip vases, sugar bowls, stained glass panels and goblets were made by using these techniques.

The first examples of beads to ward off the evil eye made of glass were produced in the village of Görece in the province ofIzmir. Evil eye beads can today be seen in every corner of Anatolia.

It is believed that all living and non-living things can be protected from the evil eye by such beads. It is also believed that these beads serve to divert malicious glances containing the evil eye elsewhere. Amulets to ward off the evil eye are therefore put in places where everyone can easily see them.


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