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[Folk Arts] [Plastic folk arts]


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Various products made of various metals by various techniques form metal work. Metals like gold, silver, copper, bronze, brass, lead, tin, iron and mercury are made utilizable by techniques of forging, casting and soldering. Various techniques are used to decorate metal work. In engraving technique, the surface of the metal is decorated with deep lines and ribs. For making relief on the metal, chisels with various points and hammer are used. So, relief technique is utilized. In filigree technique, patterns are made by bending golden and silver wires and these patterns are mounted to each other or to a metal surface by soldering. A decoration technique called “savat” is obtained by filling the ribs and slots made, which are made on the surface of the metal, with a black paste made of a mixture of sulfur-copper-lead. In the technique known as holework or hemstitch, perforated decorations are made on the metal. In inlay technique, other types of metals, stones, glass or enamel are subject to be placed in the ribs and slots mad eon the metal surface. Also, plating, veneer are other techniques of decorating. In Ottoman age, the veneering of copper with gold is called tombac.

It is observed that Turks dominated metal work in every period of time. While the ancient Turks were living as nomads in Central Asia, they noticed the rich metal resources and produced daily usage commodities and weapons by processing these natural resources. Especially Gokturks were famous with their craftsmanship in metal work.

This mark of Central Asia nomads continued on metal work of Seljuks. Various commodities like plates, trays, bowls, pestles, ewers, vases, gulabdans, censers, braziers, oil lamps, candlesticks, mirrors, penholders and inkstands are made of various metals like gold, silver, copper, bronze and brass. These artworks were decorated with geometric, herbal decorations, human and animal figures, scriptures like the ones in Central Asia. In this period, metal-to-metal inlaying technique was developed very much. Metal work was made of predominantly bronze and brass in Anatolian Seljuks age. The metal work craftsmen of this period used various decoration techniques together on the same art work.

In Ottoman age, in addition to the metal works produced for daily and architectural usage, production of military purpose metal work of weapons, helmets, shields and armors became dominant. In 16th century, Ottoman metal art gave its most beautiful samples. Sultans Yavuz Selim and Kanuni Suleyman chose jewelry of the arts and were educated in Trabzon. The most valuable metal work in this period was the art works called “murassa”. In murassa at works, flower and leaf motifs on gold and silver were produced by inlaying gem stones like diamond, emerald, ruby, turquoise, chrysolite, garnet and coral.

In art works produced as locks and keys of Kaaba, the name of the sultan and verses of the Koran were either veneered or inlaid with gold. New container forms were developed in 17th century by producing censers in shapes of cypress and fountains.

The main metal production centers in Ottoman age were Trabzon, Kastamonu, Tokat, Erzurum and Istanbul. In these cities, which are still production centers, jewelry and commodities are produced. Especially cutlery is still performed in little towns.