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x0x The mysterious language of oya

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  • TRH
    [See http://turk-style.com/oya/oya%20ortu1.html for photos. Click on photos to see closeups. ] x0x The mysterious language of oya By SABIHA TANSUG Though its
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2007
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      [See http://turk-style.com/oya/oya%20ortu1.html
      for photos. Click on photos to see closeups. ]

      x0x The mysterious language of oya


      Though its techniques and motifs may vary by
      region, the hearts, hands and language of the
      women of Anatolia are evident in their lace.

      Anatolias thousand and one species of plants and
      gaily colored flowers are reborn in the the
      imagination and inner eye of its women.

      And Flora, Ionian goddess of plants and flowers,
      is immortalized in the oya or lace edging produced
      by their hands. The history of the decorative
      edging known in Europe as Turkish lace is thought
      to date back as far as the 8th century B.C. to the
      Phrygians of Anatolia. Some sources indicate that
      needlework spread from 12th century Anatolia to
      Greece and from there via Italy to Europe.
      Traditionally, the headdresses and scarves women
      wore on their heads, the printed cloths, and
      prayer and funeral head coverings were decorated
      with various kinds of lace, which was also used on
      undergarments, to adorn outer garments, around the
      edges of towels and napkins and as a decorative
      element in many other places. In the Aegean region
      even mens headdresses were decked with layers of


      Lace edging, which appears all over Anatolia in
      various forms and motifs, has different names
      depending on the means employed: needle, crochet
      hook, shuttle, hairpin, bead, tassel to name just
      a few.

      Sewing needle lace is a variety that was produced
      by affluent, aristocratic, urban women. The most
      beautiful examples of such lace, which was usually
      made with a sewing needle using silk thread, were
      produced in the Ottoman Palace.

      Crochet work can be done in different ways in
      colors of ones choosing by using a single crochet
      hook. It differs from sewing needle lace in that
      it employs thicker thread and is less delicate in

      Shuttle lace is produced more by women in the
      villages and provincial towns, using a small
      shuttle made of bone. Either one or two colors are

      Firkete or hairpin lace is made by threading
      beads, sequins, coral or pearls onto thread of a
      single color. Caput meanwhile, which is more
      common in the villages where very beautiful and
      creative examples are produced with limited means,
      is done by cutting and folding colorful pieces of
      coarse cloth into squares and using a crochet
      hook. Crochet hooks are also used for adding
      tassels. Beaded edging, which is frequently
      encountered in Anatolia, is done by threading
      beads of various colors onto the ends of lace made
      either with a sewing needle or a crochet hook.

      Finally, silk thread and cocoon fragments are the
      materials of koza or cocoon lace, whose primary
      motifs are created by the cocoons and later added
      on to lace produced with either a sewing needle or
      a crochet hook.


      Womans delicacy, sensitivity, creativity,
      fertility, philosophy and oneness with nature are
      observed in the most beautiful examples of lace,
      an elegant and refined art that has its own
      mysterious language.

      Young maidens, new brides, and young women
      traditionally conveyed their loveswhether hopeful
      or hopeless, their expectations, their good
      tidings, their happiness and unhappiness, their
      resentment and their incompatibility with their
      husbands to those around them through the lace
      they wore.

      In the Marmara and Aegean regions, for example,
      floral lace is a phenomenon in and of itself. A
      woman adorned her head with lace flowers differing
      depending on her age. Aged grannies used tiny wild
      flowers, which symbolize the return of dust to
      dust. Virgins, brides and young women employed
      roses, arbor roses, carnations, jasmine,
      hyacinths, violets, daffodils, chrysanthemums and
      fuchsia in their lace. And all of them carry
      messages which are conveyed through their shapes
      and colors. Women reaching forty used a bent
      tulip. As in the poem Narcissus written by the
      Roman poet Ovid in the 8th century, a woman who
      wrapped yellow daffodil lace around her head was
      declaring a hopeless love.

      A woman whose man had gone abroad to work bound
      wild rose lace around her head; new brides on the
      other hand wore lace of roses and arbor roses.
      Girls engaged to marry the man they love wore lace
      of pink hyacinths and almond blossoms, while a
      girl in love wore purple hyacinths. Plum blossom
      lace was worn by brides. A new bride who has a
      disagreeable relationship with her husband chose
      pepper spice lace for her head, as if to say my
      marriage was unhappy from the start. But if she
      bound red pepper lace around her head, this was a
      sign that her relationship with her husband was as
      spicy as red hot pepper.


      In Konya a girl engaged to be married sends a
      piece of lace-edged printed cloth to her
      prospective mother-in-law. If what she sends is
      meadow and grass lace, this implies that their
      relations are cordial.

      But if she sends gravestone lace, it means the
      coldness between us will endure until death. By
      sending hairy wolf lace meanwhile a young girl
      indicates that she is displeased with their
      relationship. Since the lace is seen by the
      neighbors at the wedding ceremony, it is of course
      the wish of all mothers-in-law that their new
      daughters-in-law wrap meadow-grass lace around
      their heads. The grooms family, too, sends the
      bride a bridal cloth with two or three lace
      flowers from which the bridal headdress will be
      made. Lace edging consisting of flowers on a
      branch is worn by brides in some regions of

      Such lace, of which there are many varieties,
      represents a sort of tree of life for a bride who
      wants to produce many offspring.

      Not only womens emotions but also incidents that
      have left a mark on society can be observed in
      lace: Pasha star, or Zeki Muren eyelash named for
      a famous Turkish singer of the 20th century,
      Turkan Soray eyelash associated with Turkeys
      veteran star of the silver screen, and Ecevit
      eyelash named after former prime minister Bulent
      Ecevit, to name just a few.

      Others include kaymakam rose, Ataturk flower, rose
      of Japan, sots leg, shepherds flea, bachelors
      flea... The list is endless.

      A product of the deep-rooted Anatolian culture
      with no exact equivalent in other languages, lace
      edging not only adorns womens headscarves today,
      it is also used as an accessory in modern design.

      Meanwhile it continues to be an indispensable
      addition to a girls trousseau chest.

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