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Art glass means melting glass in furnaces to up to 1000 degrees and cooling down and skilfully shaping the resulting liquid frit. This process is limited to a few minutes or even to a few seconds. 

In every period of history, glassworks of a region seem to embody identity products representing the management structure, design and industrial power of the given locality. 

Any glasswork displayed in a museum defines its period and locality of production nearly with the precision of a document.

In Anatolia, each glasswork produced in thousands of years has been enriched with the butting of thousands of unwritten skills developed individually by glass artists.

In Anatolia, glassworks produced with the first glass making techniques termed as ‘core moulding’ were discovered in excavations that revealed works from Hurri-Mitanni and Mycenean civilizations of the Bronze Age from the time period 1500-1200 B.C. Archaeological excavations in almost all regions of Anatolia have led to the finding of various pieces that indicate the constant use of glass materials of diverse qualities during the whole course of those regions’ history.

These products also demonstrate the developments from the past to the present day. In the 2nd Century, Anatolian glass artists were gravitated towards creative designs to the newly emerging daily needs of end users. Glass, thus, became a part of the daily life with function gaining a priority over everything else. 4th Century witnessed a shift in traditions both in glass technology and design.

The fundamental features of today’s world of art glass started to emerge with the designs of that period. In late Roman and Byzantine periods, free-blowing, mould-blowing and press-moulding techniques were expansively employed to produce a wide range of ornaments and attempts were made to produce mosaics and even flat glass for the first time.

Especially coloured mosaics obtained from frit and mixed with gold were used in coating walls, domes and vaults.

Another technical feature of this period was the application of liquidised glass stains on glass surfaces and the subsequent firing and abrasion processing of glassworks.

This symbolizes the beginning of the production of bottles, glasses, bowls, pitchers, vases, beads, ornaments, medical products, oil lamps and candlesticks appropriate for daily functions in Anatolia.

Perfume bottles in this period were the first widespread application of the ‘feminine’ product concept. Significant glasswork examples of early and mid Byzantine periods in Anatolia were found in Sart. 

In 13th Century Seljuk period, flat glass plates were produced for use in plaster window frames of important architectural structures in Anatolia, as well as various glass pots.
This workmanship greatly improved during the Seljuk period. When the technical conditions of the time are taken into consideration, it is observed that the glass oil lamps produced in this period demonstrated an outstanding workmanship and that these traditional forms were continued for long years. 

In the Ottoman period, the thick and robust walls of architectural buildings of the state were covering large spaces. Glass artists, however, endeavoured to pierce these walls to allow the most colourful light beams in. These endeavours, 500 years ago, created the Ottoman glass industry and, thus, the skylight.

The first and most important work of this period is Süleymaniye Complex. Relevant documents indicate that 1417 people were employed to produce the amazing glasswork in this building (1). Glass artists that produced the works in Süleymaniye Complex later brought art glass and glass architecture to a breakthrough in terms of their widespread use in Anatolia. 

In the 16th Century, traditional glasswork was supported and supervised by the Palace, which provided even the firewood needed for the furnaces. Glass artists working in the Palace were amongst the top artists of the time and known as ‘camgeran’ (2). 

‘Beykoz Glass Manufacture’, put into operation during the reign of Selim III, pioneered a grand tradition.

Beykoz Glassware had two separate product lines based on the designs and uses of the tradition. 
The first of these comprise the products embodying the tradition of Topkapı Palace and its artists and represent the presence of a substantial design heritage.
The other group symbolizes the upper class environment in Ottoman life as the new emblems and products of the industrial revolution.

Works of Beykoz were technically renewed, but developed, at the same time, within the continuity of the tradition in terms of style. The most widely used styles were clear and colourless glass. Along with the use of clear glass, glass of coloured frits was also enriched with various decorations such as staining, glazing and glossing.
In addition, cold cutting at various depths and thicknesses was applied to glass surfaces. 

The feature that distinguishes Beykoz glassware from European products is the red reflection observed upon placing Beykoz glassware in front of a light source. This feature is attributed to the specific quality of the sand used in Beykoz glass.
The other features are the presence of traces called cutting sets or dents and different bonding styles used for handles and stands. 

Beykoz glass was produced in certain traditional colours, although tones of blue were more widely used. In the reign of Selim III, glasshouses that had been established in Beykoz, but faded in popularity afterwards were combined into a new factory called ‘Imperial Ceramics and Glass Factory’ (Çini ve Billur Fabrika-i Hümayun). This new factory continued to manufacture Beykoz glassware, which constitutes the most important glassworks of today’s museums, and received awards in international industrial exhibits (3). 

1880s witnessed important developments in glass industry and lightning techniques. Modiano Glass Factory was established in Paşabahçe in this period and continued its operation until 1922. 

In 1900s, glassworkers in operation in Anatolia continued the glass manufacture and design process at their own scale by using simple hand tools and cutting sets and techniques.

In 1930s, the newly emerging substantial need for glassware in the country was satisfied with the establishment of a new bottle and glass factory in Paşabahçe, the historical region of glassware, was established in 1935.

This establishment is the last centre of Istanbul glassworks that undertook the continuity and responsibility of the tradition created in the Bosporus. 

 For the development of Anatolian glassworks, see...


Source:Önder Küçükerman,Türkiyenin Kültür Mirası 100 Cam, NTV Yayınları,2008
    Önder Küçükerman,
Cam Sanatı ve Geleneksel Türk Camcılığından Örnekler/The Art of Glass and Traditional Turkish Glassware,T.İş Bankası, Ank.1985
    Önder Küçükerman,
Cam Sanatı ve Akdenizin 3000 Yıllık Camcı Kardeşleri, Yapı Kredi Yayınları,S.93-3,İst.1993Önder Küçükerman-İhsan Yücel,Milli Saraylardaki Cam Eserlerin 19. yy.daTür Cam Sanayiinin Gelişimine Etkileri,TBMM Milli Saraylar,İst.1993
    Önder Küçükerman,
Cam ve Çağdaş Tasarım İçindeki Yeri,Şişe Cam Yayını,Y.19 S.105, İst.1979
    Adnan Berkay,
Cumhuriyet Devrinde Türk Camcılığı,     
    Semavi Eyice,
Bizans’ta ve Osmanlı Devri Türk Sanatında Aydınlatmada Cam, I.Uluslararası Anadolu Cam Sanatı Semp.,T.Şişe ve Cam Fabrikaları A.Şyayını,İst.1990 
    Üzlifat Canav, Türkiye Şişe ve Cam Eserler Kolleksiyonu,TŞCF yayını, İst.1985

(1)  Ö.Lütfi Barkan, Süleymaniye Cami ve İmareti İnşaatı, Türk Tarih Kurumu,VI seri, Ank.1972(?)

(2)  Önder Küçükerman, Ehl-i Hıref, Topkapı Sarayındaki Ustalar II, İst 1994

(3) Fuat Bayramoğlu, Türk Cam Sanatı ve Beykoz İşleri, T.İş.Bankası, İst.197
      Önder Küçükerman,
200 Yıllık Boğaziçi Camcılık Mirası İçinde Beykoz camları, T.Şişe ve Cam Fabrikaları A.Şyayını, İst.2002
      Nurhan Atasoy,
Belgelerde Osmanlı Camı, I.Uluslararası Anadolu Cam Sanatı Semp.,T.Şişe ve Cam Fabrikaları A.Ş yayını,İst.1990

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