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Kütahya Çini and Ceramics Art

After İznik, Kütahya was Ottoman Turkey's most important centre of ceramic production. Thanks to abundant deposits of clay in the area, ceramics were made here in large quantities in Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine times, and the traditional techniques of this art have survived to the present day.

Although little research into ceramics produced in Kütahya during the early Ottoman and pre-Ottoman Turkish periods has as yet been carried out, recent finds and publications suggest that the industry essentially parallelled that of İznik. (1)

The earliest known Kütahya ceramics are monochrome glazed bricks decorating the minaret balcony of Kurşunlu Mosque dated 1377 and tiles on the cenotaph and floor of the Tomb of Yakup II of the Germiyanoğlu (Kütahya Tile Museum) principality dated 1428 and located in the imaret founded by the same ruler.

Kütahya ceramics continued to be manufactured over the next centuries, the finest quality examples dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. A decline in quality is observable from the second half of the 18th century, but there was a revival in the late 19th century, and with state support during the second quarter of the 20th century, this traditional ware has survived to the present day.(2)

Kütahya ceramics stand somewhere between İznik ceramics, which primarily represented 'Court art,' and Çanakkale ceramics, which are usually regarded as 'folk art.' The potters of Kütahya produced a wide range of tiles for architectural decoration and household pottery that was sold widely throughout the country. In terms of both the volume and continuity of production, Kütahya ceramics are a very significant area of Ottoman craftsmanship.


Stylised floral motifs, religious motifs and human and animal figures decorate most of the 18th century tiles and ceramics.

The pieces dating from this period have a white or cream coloured paste, white slip and transparent glaze. The motifs are painted underglaze in green, turquoise, yellow, cobalt blue and, from the mid-18th century onwards, manganese purple, the motifs being outlined in black.

A second group of Kütahya ware consisting of dishes, lemon squeezer, bowls, bottles, plates and cups dating from the 18th century are decorated with stylised flowers, leaves and curling tendrils in cobalt blue, with the occasional addition of yellow, green or turquoise.
Ewers and jugs of various shapes and sizes are decorated with cypress tree motifs in relief, circular crosshatched medallions and floral scrolls worked in free brushstrokes.

One of the foremost characteristics of the Ottoman Empire was the tolerant attitude and absence of discrimination on grounds of religion, race or culture. Consequently Muslim and Christian potters work together in Kütahya producing objects designed to meet the needs of both communities. Striking examples in this exhibition are pottery and tiles with motifs relating to the Christian liturgy.

Kütahya's contribution to architectural decoration over the centuries is illustrated by tiles dating from various periods in the last section of the exhibition, showing how Kütahya pottery set its mark to Ottoman society at every level, from coffee cups to monumental building decoration.

For more information, see...


 (1) For the techniques and the development of Türkish Tile Art, see
     Ara Altun, Osmanlıda Çini ve Seramik Öyküsü/The Story of Ottoman Tiles and Ceramics, İstanbul 1997-1999
     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
      Faik Kırımlı, İstanbul Çiniciligi Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı Xı, İÜ  Ed. Fak. Yayını, 1981, İstanbul
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, Turkish Ceramic Tile Art, Tokyo 1975
     Gönül Öney, Bursa Çinileri, İstanbul 1996
     Hakan Arlı, Mehmet Emin Efendi The Story of Ottoman Tiles and Ceramics, İstanbul, 1997
     Hadi Tamer, Türk Çinicilerinin Terkip ve Tekniğine Daİr Bazı Tahlil, Müşahade Ve Mukayeseler, Ankara Üniversitesi, Türk Ve İslam Sanatları Tarihi Enstitüsü Yayını , 1962, Ankara
     Friedrich Sarre, Die Keramik der Islamische Zeit von Milet, Berlin 1935
     J. Carswell, Iznik Pottery, London 1957
     J. Soustiel, La Ceramique Islamique, Fribourg, 1985
     Nurettin Yatman, Eski Türk Çinileri, Ankara 1942
     Otto-K.Dorn, Turkische Keramik, Ankara 1957
     Oktay.Aslanapa, Anadolu'da Türk Çini ve Keramik Sanatı, İstanbul 1965   Şerare Yetkin, Anadoluda Çini Sanatının Gelişmesi, İstanbul 1986
     Oktay Aslanapa, Türk Sanatı El Kitabı, İnkilap, İstanbul
     Şerare Yetkin, Anadolu'da Türk Çini Sanatının Gelişmesi, İstanbul 1986
     Şerare Yetkin, Türk Çini Sanatında Bazı Önemli Örnekler ve Teknikleri, Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı I, İstanbul 1964    
     Şerare Yetkin, Mimar Sinan'ın Eserlerinde Çini Süsleme Düzeni, İstanbul 1988
     Şehabettin Uzluk, Selçuklu ve Osmanlı Çini İşçiliği, İstanbul, 1930
     Tahsin Öz, Yıldız Çini Fabrikası Arkitekt, Sayı 161-162, 1945, İstanbul 
Tahsin Öz. Çinilerimiz ,Güzel Sanatlar, Sayı 2
     Tahsin Öz. Turkish Ceramics, Ankara 1955

(2) For Kütahya Tiles, see

     Oktay Aslanapa, Osmanlılar devrinde Kütahya Çinileri, İstanbul 1949
     Oktay Aslanapa, Kütahya Çiniciliğinin Tarihçesi, Ankara 1968
     John Carswell, Kütahya Çini ve Seramikleri, Sadberk Hanım Müzesi Türk Çini ve seramikleri,İstanbul 1991
     Rıfat Çini, Ateşin Yarattığı Sanat, Kütahya Çiniciliği, İstanbul 2002
     Rıfat Çini, Türk Çiniciliğinde Kütahya/Kütahya in Turkish Tilemaking, İstanbul 1991
     Faruk Şahin, Cumhuriyet Dönemi Kütahya Çini ve Keramik Sanatı, Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı,
     Faruk Şahin,Kütahya Çini Keramik Sanatı ve Tarihinin Yeni Buluntular Açısından  Değerlendirilmesi, Sanat Tarihi Yıllığı,19-20, İstanbul 1981    
     H.Örçün Barışta, XX yy.Başı Kütahya Çinilerinden Örnekler, Milli Kültür, Kültür Bakanlığı S.56,1987
     A.Rıza Balaman, Kütahya’da Geleneksel Seramikçilik, 4.Ulusal El Sanatları Semp.Bildirileri,DEÜ GSF Yayınları,İzmir 1985
     Ara Altun, Osmanlıda Çini ve Seramik Öyküsü, 1999
     Esad Arseven, Les Arts Decoratifs Turcs, İstanbul, 1952
     Belgin Demirsar, Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics, The Story of Ottoman Tiles and Ceramics, İstanbul, 1997
     Hamza Güler, Kütahya ve Çini I, Aksu Dergisi, Kütahya 1965
     Faruk Şahin, Cumhuriyet Dönemi Kütahya Çini ve Keramik Sanatı, Sanat tarihi Yıllığı XIII, İstanbul, 1988

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