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[Folk Arts] [Plastic folk arts]

CLAY WORK       

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Ceramic and tile lead the products of the hand work whose material is clay.

The raw material of ceramic is clay, which is a kind of earth. The objects which are shaped with ceramic pulp are dried afterwards and baked to increase its endurance. It is sometimes observed that the word ceramic is used as keramic. Sometimes containers produced with primitive methods whose surfaces are free of glaze are called pottery.

It is understood from the diggings that Anatolia had the pottery production even in Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. Cayonu, Fikirtepe, Hacilar and Can Hasan were the first pottery production centers. Later, during Troy and Hittite civilizations, pottery production developed. The main utilization areas of pottery were preservation containers, holy ceremony containers, containers in which the ashes of the dead were put, thruibles, oil lamps and ornaments.

Anatolia was again the cradle of pottery production during Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. With the affect of Anatolian Seljuk art, it is observed that ceramic was used especially in Iznik, Konya, Diyarbakir and Kubadabad and the greatest area of production was tiles.

The most important ceramic production centers during Ottoman period were Iznik, Kutahya and Canakkale. Iznik had been a ceramic center since Byzantine period and hosted famous Iznik tiles in Ottoman period. It is known that ceramic and tile production had increased after 15th century in Kutahya. Ceramic production had been continued since the period of Sultanates and even it is thought to be named after pottery production. It is observed that there were production with the purpose of making shallow plates, bowls, containers of human and animal shapes, cups, flasks, jugs, jars, braziers and candlesticks and these were decorated with patterns like flower, giraffe, fish, house, mosque and boat. Generally, pulp which is common red or light beige in color was used, colors of brown, purple, orange, yellow and blue were used for decoration, after that they were coated with transparent glaze. It is observed that some samples had relief and glaze chrome green, brown, orange, dull yellow and dark green in color. No tile production was seen in Canakkale.

Tiles are produced of white tile pulp. It is one of the art branches in which Turks had formed most genuine artworks. Especially in 12th century, it is observed that tile had developed since the period of Great Seljuks both in the architecture and in productions with the purpose of usage. Tiles are frequently seen on the portals of the mosques, minarets, niches, structure epigraphs, wallboards and on commodities like plates, oil lamps, vases, jugs. It is observed that luster tiles on which scenes of hunt, war and entertainment are illustrated had been produced in vast amounts. The other tile techniques developed had been techniques Lacvardina and Minai which required mastery. In the period Anatolian Seljuks, it is seen that tile mosaic technique had developed very much and was used abundantly on the niches, interiors of domes, struts and walls of the mosques. Konya Karatay Madrasah, Konya Alaeddin Mosque, Ankara Arslanhane Mosque, Sırçalı Mosque have the most beautiful samples. In the period Anatolian Seljuks, there are also wall tiles decorating the walls of the palaces and lodges of that period; these tiles are in the form of star or cross and applied with under glaze technique with human and animal figures. In early Ottoman period, in 14th .- 15th century, tiles which are turquoise , purple, black, cobalt blue and green in color and sometimes square, hexagon, triangular, rectangular tiles with golden veneer were produced. The most beautiful samples are seen in Bursa Yesil Mosque and Tomb. Edirne Muradiye Mosque is gorgeous with its blue-white tiles which were produced with under-glaze technique. The cuerda seca technique which relies on colorful glaze was applied in 14th century first in Bursa, then in Edirne and in 16th century in Istanbul. Also the tiles called Milet work were produced in the early period. In 16th century, the walls of the mosques and tombs in classical Ottoman art built in the names of Sultan, princes and viziers are decorated with the most beautiful Iznik tiles. Istanbul Suleymaniye, Rustem Pasa Mosques, Sehzade Mehmet, II.Selim, III.Murat tombs, Topkapı palace are of these structures. The discovery of dense coral red color in 1550 became the most important characteristic of Iznik tiles. Herbal decorations like tulip, hyacinth, carnation, rose, pomegranate, hanceri leaves, rumi, cintemani, Chinese cloud, and medallion form the decoration program of this period and are in conformity with the other art branches of that period. Also, tiles in which blue, turquoise, green, lavender colors are used and which are decorated with bouquets of hyacinth, carnation and tulip, are observed; in fact although they are produced in Iznik and Kutahya, they are called Damascus work. In 17th and 18th centuries, Kutahya became an important center in this subject. As tiles with illustrations of Mecca and Medina were produced, tiles with Christian items were produced by Armenian craftsmen. In 18th century, a tile workshop was established in Tekfur Palace and the samples produced here can be seen Eyup Sultan Tomb.