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x0x Gems in metal

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  • Turkish Culture List
    [See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://www.turkradio.us/k/maden/ ] x0x Gems in metal By ALEV OZAY The
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2008
      [See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:

      http://www.turkradio.us/k/maden/ ]

      x0x Gems in metal

      By ALEV OZAY

      The choicest specimens of Seljuk and Ottoman
      metalwork can be seen at the Museum of Turkish and
      Islamic Art.

      Like the other branches of art, the Ottoman art of
      metal at the outset took over the Seljuk cultural
      heritage, with the result that it became a melting
      pot for a variety of trends as befits an empire
      that combined many lands and peoples. The
      widespread implementation in the 14th century of
      the art of repoussé, familiar to us from Seljuk
      metalwork, is one of the outstanding features of
      the period. In later centuries repoussé was not
      used so intensively by Ottoman metalwork masters.


      The 15th century, when the Ottomans embarked on
      the path towards becoming a world state, and the
      conquest of Istanbul in 1453 especially,
      constituted a turning point in the art of metal as
      in many other fields. With the conquest especially
      of the Balkan lands, which were rich in gold and
      silver, the Ottomans acquired metalworking artists
      who possessed not only the raw material resources
      but also a long-standing tradition.

      Mamluk influence is observed in the oil lamps in
      the shape of hexagonal pyramids in a group of
      works typical of the period. The countless
      examples of such lamps, decorated with openwork,
      repoussé and intaglio and adorned with rumi and
      hatayi motifs, that have survived to our day show
      that they were produced abundantly in the second
      half of the 15th century. Candlesticks also occupy
      an important place among the metal work of this


      Among the Ottoman metal work that has survived to
      our day, a plethora of objects dating to the
      period of Sultan Bayezid II stand out.

      Although Bayezid IIs passion for valuable objects
      has been viewed by historians as prodigal, its
      impact on art was positive, and it is a fact that
      the creation of new works was a compelling force
      in the encouragement and patronage of artists. The
      Ehli Hiref or craftsmens organization, which
      served as a school for every branch of Ottoman
      art, was established in this period.

      Subsumed under it were the coppersmiths
      (kazganciyan), who made metal objects; the
      goldsmiths (zergeran), who produced jewelry of all
      kinds including gold; the gold inlayers (kUftgeran
      or zernisan), who produced gold inlay and other
      decorations, and the hakkak who cut and set
      precious stones. All these divisions of the Ehli
      Hiref had a role to play due to the great
      diversity of decorative techniques employed in the
      art of metalwork.


      As a result of the cooperation and work of the
      masters who brought diverse traditions and
      concepts of art to Istanbul from various parts of
      the Empire following the conquest of Tabriz and
      Egypt in particular, the Ottoman art of metal was
      purged of manifest influences in the mid-16th
      century and found its own unique style.

      A number of decorative techniques were generally
      employed on the decorative objects made in this
      century including intaglio, repoussé, filigree,
      chasing, niello, embossing and metal plating.

      But the group that best represents the overall
      character of the period is without doubt that of
      the metal objects known as murassa (studded with
      precious stones). It became fashionable in this
      period to embed precious stones in metal surfaces
      such as swords, daggers, book covers, slabs of
      emerald, natural crystal and even porcelain by
      using the technique of stone inlay. In contrast
      with the ostentatious style of the 16th century,
      there are also plain examples which stand out
      simply for their harmonious proportions and fine
      workmanship. Again from this period, specimens
      adorned only with a central medallion, cartouche
      or angle-iron constitute a happy medium between
      these two extremes.


      Flowers also begin to appear alongside the
      classical 16th century styles in the decorative
      motifs of the 17th century. Emerging under Western
      influence, these are composed of floral motifs
      worked in Turkish style.

      Besides the traditional motifs such as the plaited
      frieze, tree of life, Seal of Solomon and fish
      observed on copper objects of the period decorated
      mostly using the intaglio technique, naturalistic
      designs such as tulips and pomegranate blossoms,
      familiar from silver objects of the period, are
      also encountered. The Ottoman art of metalwork,
      which is observed to have remained bound, in part
      at least, to the traditional forms at the
      beginning of the 18th century, continued the
      naturalistic style of the 17th century as well.
      Besides the western-oriented quest for form and
      motif, there was also a tendency to maintain the
      classical tradition. Late 18th century and 19th
      century metalwork in contrast appears to reflect
      entirely western taste.


      The classical Ottoman shapes and motifs of the
      16th and 17th centuries eventually gave way to
      Baroque and Rococo forms and designs imported from
      Europe. The Ottoman art of metal, which was
      attempting to emulate Western products in this
      period, is observed to have been particularly
      successful in the technique of intaglio, of which
      it created fine examples in pieces such as the
      coffee sets, ewers, trays, jugs and mirrors that
      were so popular during the period. When examining
      the Turkish Rococo products of the Ottoman art of
      metal, we see a transformation in taste. Pearls
      and cut diamonds supplant colored stones such as
      the ruby, emerald and garnet of the classical
      period in jewelry and inlaid work, and enamelling
      also becomes popular. Similarly, embossing with a
      mould replaces the more demanding technique of
      repoussé using a graver, which requires skill. As
      for the floral compositions, which are still used,
      these now take the form of sumptuous baskets with
      enormous bows and garlands made in keeping with
      contemporary fashions. The changing political and
      economic fortunes of the 19th century Ottoman
      world naturally affected Ottoman art as well. The
      gradual weakening of the Ehli Hiref organization
      in the palace and its complete disappearance in
      the 19th century spelled the end of the brilliant
      evolution of Ottoman art. The gradual weakening
      of the Ehli Hiref organization in the palace and
      its complete disappearance in the 19th century
      spelled the end of the brilliant evolution of
      Ottoman art. As the state, with increasing
      frequency, sent the gold, silver and even copper
      objects in the Treasury to the Mint to be melted
      down, the extant specimens of the Ottoman art of
      metal, which had been based on the recycling of
      materials for re-use, began more and more to belie
      the richness cited in the sources. The objects
      that were able to be preserved in the Palace
      Treasury and other extant specimens, most of which
      survive only because they were donated to tombs
      and mosques, illustrate the richness of style and
      workmanship in this branch of Ottoman art.
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