Art & Culture | Honorary TURKISH CONSULATE for MICHIGAN

Honorary Turkish Consulate for Michigan
About Turkey: Art and Culture: Decorative Arts
16th century Ototman miniature detail

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.

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Examples of decorative Turkish Arts:

Enamelled tile making
Iznik Tile by Ismail YigitThis process involves richly decorating cearmic, tile or porcelain pieces then covering the design in a thick glaze. This style, produced most often in Iznik and Kütahya, had it's peak between the 14th and 17th centuries. Three regions in turkey are prized for their cermic production:
  1. Iznik
  2. Kütahya
  3. Çanakkale
Title page from Qur'anUsually small in size, miniatures are typified by sumptuous ornamentation coupled with detailed elements. Particularly important to Ottoman art are the works of the Zubdat-al-Tawarikh and the artist Levnî. Elements used include the arrowpoint illumination and the marbling of paper.
Ottoman calligraphy in geometic style, Topkapi Palca MuseumCalligraphy holds a crucial role on Islamic and traditional art. Because of a taboo on human depiction in art (seen as idolotry) and its ability to convey the word of the Qu’ran, this artform is highly developed. Usually done in Arabic script.
Turkish rugCarpet weaving hold particular importance in Anatolia and its heritage can be seen throughout the world. From 17th century Dutch genre scenes to today's museums, the kilim and rug arts span time and use.
Wood Craft
Mother-of-pearl inlayThe Kayseri Ethnographic Museum containt extensive wood examples. The Anatolian region is endowned with many forests, which constitued the majority of vernacular architecture. In the arts, the inlay or mother-of-pearl was common in Ottoman and Moorish furniture. Wood was also formed into works of filigree producing a “hanging lace” effect. Finally, wood was covered with gilt or simple engraved.
Glass Arts
Mirror, second quarter of 16th century, Ottoman, Metropolitan Museum of ArtTurkish glass works never held a primary role in the retinue of the craftsman; however, examples of stained glass and mirrors appear in Topkapi. More important, was the carving of rock-crystal into flasks, jugs and oterh decoratvei or serving peices.
Ottoman metal bowl, LouvreThe Anatolian region is well-stocked with silver mines, and gold was readily avaiable from the Near East. Jewelry of gold and repoussé of silver and other metals was and still quite popular. Braziers and bathbowls used in bath houses also emplyed this art. Typical motifs included callugraphy and arabesque or floral designs.
Other Arts
Ottoman spoons, Topkapi Palca MuseumMeerschaum pipes and the wide Ottoman spoons are two unusual and particularly Turkish crafts found even today.

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