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Ceramics in Anatolia

Ceramics in the oldest centre of population, Anatolia, are seen in Çatalhöyük in 6500 BC. Ceramics in Anatolia is as old as the transition of man from the collecting culture to a settled and productive culture. 

The first examples of coloured ceramics in Anatolia are seen in Hacılar works. Hacılar ceramics reflect a high technique and an advanced understanding of decoration.

Earthenware had originally been shaped by hand, while the use of a hand lathe known to have been found in Mesopotamia started for such work in 3500 BC.

With improvements in technique, ceramics gained more importance in economic and social life. Small figures of fertility used for religious ceremonies were replaced by pots and oil lamps designed for various daily needs.

Large jars, water jugs and amphorae, as well as wool spinners, were created to produce and store such fluids as crucible – for melting metal –, fragrance, beverages and oil utilized at the time for industrial and commercial purposes.     

The firing method used in the Prehistoric Age, which is used in Anatolia even today, was applied by placing such pots as stew pans and fryers into an open fire and covering them with earth and bushes.

With the higher temperatures reached in shaft kilns, which were used after 4000 BC, it was possible to produce more durable goods. Today, such kilns can be seen in pottery villages in Thrace and Central Anatolia.

The Hittite Period (1450-120 BC) was the prime of Anatolian ceramics.

The monochromic ceramics of the Urartian Period bear the influence of Assyria.

Works of Phrygian, Lydian, Lycian, Carian and Ionian civilizations demonstrate a Greek influence.

During the Hellenistic Age (300-30 BC), decorated pots were produced under the influence of Greek and Iranian arts.

In the Roman period, as well as relief and sealed consumer goods and ornaments, buildings were also decorated with ceramics.

On the other hand, in the Byzantine Period (4-14 BC), ceramics appeared in motifs and colours as a synthesis of Roman and Anatolian cultures. Cultures of Christian, Islamic and ethnic groups were interwoven.

The Seljuk Period produced the most beautiful examples in the history of ceramics. Ceramics were incorporated into buildings in glazed or encaustic tiles. Religious buildings in such cities as Konya and Diyarbakır demonstrate varied décor techniques with a vivid and unconventional Seljuk approach. In this period, artists’ works on potter’s clay and glaze contributed greatly to the art of ceramics.

Thanks to the important trade routes passing through Anatolia, its migrating movements for various reasons and the large land area of the Ottoman Empire, ceramics became even more prominent and enjoyed its prime in the 16th Century especially with Anatolian works bearing the mark of Islamic Culture under the influence of various different cultures.

In Kütahya, one of ceramic production centres, ceramics developed in vivid, multicoloured and free-patterned works produced more in an extension of folk art.

On the other hand, Iznik and Istanbul workshops produced finer works for the Palace’s taste. 

Today, there are various workshops in almost all regions of Anatolia that abstain from repeating the old to provide works of genuine creativity in this art form.



Source :B.Anılanmert, Anadolu’da Seramiğin Dünü Bugünü,  BBB Derg. Y9 S36
     Ara Altun, Osmanlıda Çini ve Seramik Öyküsü/The Story of Ottoman Tiles and Ceramics, İstanbul 1997-1999
     Ara Altun, İznik, Türk Çini ve Seramikleri,İstanbul 1991
     Arthur Lane, Later Islamic Pottery, London 1957
     B.Demirsarar, Anadolu Türk Sanatında Çini ve Seramik, Kültürlerin Kesiştiği Ülke, Türkiye, İstanbul 1993
     Can Kerametli, Asya'dan Anadolu'ya Türk Çini ve Keramik Sanatı, Türkiyemiz 9,İstanbul 1973
     C.Krefer, Les  Ceramiques Muslümanes D'Anatolie, Cahiers de la Ceramique,4, 1956
     Gönül Öney, Türk Çini Sanatı, İstanbul 1976
     Gönül Öney, Anadolu’da Türk Devri Çini ve Seramik Teknikleri, Türk Çini Sanatı, İstanbul 1986
     Gönül Öney, Anadolu Türk Çini ve Seramik Sanatı, İstanbul 1976
     Gönül Öney, İslam Mimarisinde Çini, İstanbul 1988  
     Gönül Öney, Erken Osmanlı Mimarisinde Çini, XV-XVI yy Başı İznik-Bursa-Edirne, Osmanlı 11, Yeni Türkiye Yayınları, Ankara 1999
     Gönül Öney, Anadolu Selçuklu Mimari Süslemesi ve El Sanatları, İş Bankası, Ankara, 1992
Gönül Öney, Turkish Ceramic Tile Art, Tokyo 1975
     Gönül Öney, Bursa Çinileri, İstanbul 1996
     M.Paker, Anadolu Beylikler Devri Keramik Sanatı, Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı, I, İstanbul 1965 
     O.Aslnapa-Ş.Yetkin-A.Altun, İznik Çini Fırınları Kazısı/The İznik Tile Kiln Excavations, II.Dönem,İstanbul 1989
     Nurhan Atasoy-J.Raby, İznik Çiniciliğinin Gelişmesi ve Büyümesi, İznik,Londra/Singapur,1989
     Friedrich Sarre, Die Keramik der Islamische Zeit von Milet, Berlin 1935
     J. Carswell, Iznik Pottery, London 1957
     Şerare Yetkin, Anadoluda Çini Sanatının Gelişmesi, İstanbul 1986
     Şerare Yetkin, Türk Çini Sanatında Bazı Önemli Örnekler ve Teknikleri, Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı I, İstanbul 1964    

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