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Turkish arts of the Ottoman period mostly developed with the support of the Palace.

As a continuity of ancient civilizations, administrators in the Ottoman period attributed great importance to arts and artists and established a nakkaşhane (artists’ workshop) within the Palace. Art forms developed for the taste of the Palace and relevant communities were rugs, ceramics and such book arts as calligraphy, illumination, miniature and katı’, while rugs and ceramics also raised interest among large communities within the public.

In the Nakkaşhane, artists produced both invaluable works of art for administrators’ taste and compositions for different art forms such as architecture, glass, leather, wood, weaving, ceramics, books, fabrics, guns, jewellery and metal.

Decoration artists in this nakkaşhane were famous masters of arts, who were master designers at the same time, were qualified to manage the workshop upon acquiring the title of ‘lead muralist’ (baş nakkaş).

Muralists (nakkaş) were responsible for designing such architectural decorations as engraving (kalemişi) or ceramic patterns, as well as book arts, decorating small crates of wood or cardboard and preparing the patterns to be used for weavings like tents, marquees, rugs and fabrics.

The fact that all compositions were designed at a single centre provided an amazing unity in style in Turkish arts. Although art works were produced within the framework of this unity in style on the basis of the same composition and layout, the same motif repertoire and the same approach to patterns, each work has a different and original identity by itself.

Since the early periods of Turkish arts, stylization has been one of the most striking elements. Very realistic and stylized works inspired by nature constitute the common feature of all periods in Turkish arts. The artist does not imitate nature.

The artist aims to reach values that exist beyond nature and to rise to the world of meanings, viewing the world as the realm of dreams and images. Then, the artist produces their works not in the manner that defines everyone’s point of view, but on the basis of forms shaped within their own soul and their preoccupation with ‘beauty’. 

For more information see...


İlhan Özkeçeci, Türk Sanatında Kompozisyon –composition in turkish art-
İsmail Öztürk, Geleneksel Türk El Sanatlarına Giriş, Dokuz Eylül Yayınları 2003
Aykut Gürçağlar, Nakkaşhane ve Nakkaş Kavramı, Mozaik 8, İstanbul 1996
İ.Hakkı Uzunçarşılı, Osmanlı devletinin Saray Teşkilatı, Ankara 1988
Oktay Aslanapa, Türk Sanatı El Kitabı, İnkilap, İstanbul

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