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Market Research

 Turkey Industry Reports


Handicrafts and Giftware





Representing a Unique Cultural Heritage…


Turkey has inherited a rich culture from the past. The Central Anatolian plateau is

considered one of the cradles of civilization. Here the Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Galatians,

Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans established their rule. For ten millennia of

history, the people of Anatolia have reflected these cultures in their art.

Decorative arts in the life of the Turks date back to the 1st Century B.C., however the most

wonderful examples of decorative art were produced during the Seljuk and Ottoman



Turkish governmental bodies such as, DÖSİMM of The Ministry of Culture and Tourism,

(Traditional Turkish Handicrafts Foundation), a non-governmental organization and many

other institutions have been trying to preserve and develop Turkish handicrafts.

At present, Turkish craftsmen have been encouraged by the above mentioned authorities

to produce new types of products having traditional characteristics. Meanwhile, more and

more pieces of modern-style also have been designed and produced to fit the

requirements of contemporary life styles.




From World-Famous Iznik Tiles to Contemporary Designs…

Tile making was the most distinctive element of the Seljuk and Ottoman arts used in

interior and exterior architecture. İznik (earlier called Nicaea), Kütahya and Çanakkale

(Dardanel) were the three most important centers for tile and ceramics production.

Iznik developed into a prominent ceramics center during the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Ceramics made of white paste and decorated with blue patterns on white surfaces with

floral and leaf patterns, especially tulips were the preferred tile motifs. Even today, Turkish

ceramics in İznik style are world famous.


New ceramic styles emerged in Kütahya and Çanakkale during the 15th and 17th centuries,

respectively, and are known by the names of their region. With their distinctive styles, color

characteristics, patterns and forms, they provide fine examples of the arts of ceramic-ware

and tiles during the Ottoman period.


At present, both the traditional types of ceramics and modern pieces are produced in

Turkey. Almost all of the large companies are in Kütahya and İstanbul regions.

In addition, there are also various small-scale firms and hundreds of small workshops in

the industry, most of which were established in Kütahya.






A Wide Range of Products From Unique Examples of Historical Value to Functional,

Modern Items…


The Turkish art of glass making began in the Seljuk period and developed rapidly during

the Ottoman Empire. The center of glass production was Istanbul at that time.

Turkish hand-made glassware has a good reputation abroad and best reflects Turkish art.

Today, the number of glass products reaches thousands of items including hand-made

and machine-made products.


There is a special kind of glass, called “Cesm-i Bülbül” (the eye of the nightingale) which is

an art entirely Turkish. This famous design, distinguished by swirls of blue and white lines

in clear glass, is mostly used on decanters, vases, flasks and candy boxes.



There is another very special kind of glass, called “Beykoz” which takes its name from the

place and the workshop where it was originally produced at the end of the 18th century.

Historically, the forms and decorations of Beykoz glassware were meticulously created

and were the most outstanding glassware of their time. They were all decorated by using

24 carat gold on colorless or colored and opal glass.


There is another traditional glassware called a “blue eye bead”, an authentic amulet

consisting of blue, white and yellow, the eye against the evil eye. Its uniqueness among

other blue beads in the world lies in its concentric color combination resembling an eye.

Currently, reproductions of unique examples from the historic art of Turkish glass making,

in addition to a very wide range of modern glass items are produced. “Turkiye Sise ve

Cam Fab. A.S” is a group of companies in the sector, which ranks third in the world and

second in Europe in the production of glass tableware and ornaments. There are also

various small-scale firms and work-shops in the sector.




Hand Woven Clothes and Fabrics, Carpets and Rugs, Lace, Embroidered and

Quilted Fabrics and Needlework. All of Exquisite Beauty…


Traditional Turkish textile based handicrafts were inspired by a rich source molded and

shaped by numerous cultures succeeding each other for thousands of years.

Anatolian carpets and rugs, with their colors, motifs, patterns and superior quality, have a

universal reputation and are cherished for hundreds of years.


Traditional Turkish carpet weaving with its well-known Turkish knot has been preserved

with remarkable purity, faithfully keeping the original designs and color combinations of

each region of production. Each production area gives its name to the carpet where it is

produced, which is usually associated with a particular design and color scheme. Among

the best known production provinces are “Hereke, “Istanbul”, “Kayseri”, “Yahyalı”,

“Karaman”, “Sivas” and “Isparta”.


Turkish rugs generally use wool or silk as the material. Amongst various kinds of Turkish

rugs, “Kilim”, “Cicim”, “Zili” and “Kolan” can be listed here.




Lace, which is commonly used in many textile applications, especially in home textiles, is


originally a Turkish handicraft. It is an embroidery art reaching back to the mid-1500s and


crowned by the labor of Turkish women. It is an outstanding handicraft with its traditional

taste and motifs in different colors and lines which are now reflected in modern home decoration.


Traditional fabrics used both in clothes and home textiles, especially those of Denizli and

Kastamonu provinces like “Buldan fabric”, “Selalmaz cemberi” and “Azdavay cemberi” are

famous worldwide.




Handicrafts of Hand-Beaten Copper, Brass, Silver and Bronze Reflecting Both the

Past and the Present…


During the Bronze Age, inhabitants of Anatolia managed to obtain bronze with tin and

using this alloy produced receptacles and ornamental objects. They also produced copper,

gold and silver objects for religious or daily purposes using the techniques of forging and



All the civilizations which have inhabited Anatolia added their styles and values in working

metals which are still reflected in the articles of our day.


Copper plates, bowls and trays for famous Turkish food, coffee sets, kettles, buckets,

narghiles (water pipes) which are water-filtered tobacco smoking equipment are examples

of hand-beaten copper articles.


Animal figurines, coffee and spice mills, shoe shiners’ boxes, mortars etc. made of brass;

small statuettes, figurines, letter openers, boxes, key rings, lighter cases, mirror frames,

bowls and trays made of silver; bells, mortars, small statuettes etc. are numerous

examples of metal handicrafts.




Meerschaum, Black Amber, Marble and More…


Due to the variability and richness of its geological structure, working with gemstones has

been carried out in Anatolia since prehistoric times.


The “Oltu stone” which is known as “Black amber” extracted from the district of Oltu in

Erzurum is used in making rosaries, cigarette holders and jewellery generally in

combination with silver. Oltu stone is found only in Turkey, in the above mentioned district.

Underground, it is soft in its fossil form. When it comes in contact with air after it is

extracted, it hardens. This stone discharges the static electricity in the human body and in

that way it is somewhat of a remedy for stress. Oltu stone stays shiny as long as it is used

and it does not react with human sweat and leaves no traces on the skin.


The finest quality of meerschaum reserves exist in Turkey. Meerschaum is not a type of

earth or mineral, but is composed of decaying mollusks, which are subject to chemical

changes. Although meerschaum exists in various parts of Turkey, the best quality is

excavated in Eskisehir. Various products, such as cigarette holders, pipes, ash-trays,

candle holders, vases, boxes, lamp-stands, necklaces, earrings and bracelets are made of

meerschaum. Meerschaum cigarette holders and pipes have the property of absorbing the

nicotine in tobacco to some extent.




Marble, and especially onyx, objects such as chests, boxes, fruit stands, bowls, ash-trays,

vases, stationary items are produced widely since marble sources exist in ample amounts

in Anatolia.


The other current “Gemological” products of Turkey are chalcedony found in the vicinity of

Eskisehir, agate found in the vicinity of Ankara, chrysoprase of Balikesir and the opals of

Kutahya. Today, as a popular hobby item, gemstones have assumed decorative meanings

beyond their use in jewellery.




Still Creating Lovely Examples of Traditional Turkish Handicrafts…


Leather and leather working is a deep rooted branch of art in Turkey. Turks have used

leather since early times and leather has played a prominent role in their clothing and daily life.

Leather handbags, purses and belts, desk sets, boxes, rawhide shoes, chess-boards,

photo frames, address books, lighter cases, key rings, similar products and many more are

widely produced in Turkey.


Leather and “Kilim”, a sort of Turkish rug are often used together in making the articles

such as hand-bags, travel bags, purses, note-book cases, vests etc. which are well-known

samples of Turkish handicrafts.





Surviving Down to Our Age from the Distant Past…

Wood carving has a profound place in Ottoman civil architecture, the best examples of

which are found in the wooden mosques of that time.

The central boss on ceilings, the paddle boxes on fireplaces, cupboard wings and doors

found in houses are decorated with the finest, lace-like carvings.


The carved wood was enriched by mother of pearl, ivory, gold, silver, precious stones,

bone and tortoise shell inlays in the early Ottoman art of wood carving.

The art of wood carving in Anatolia is greatly influenced by the arts applied on stone,

leather, ceramics and embroidery and uses similar motifs.


Small tables, tables, boxes, reading stools, wall shelves inlaid with mother of pearl,

walking sticks, mirror frames photo frames, jewellery boxes with gold gilt decoration,

trousseau chests with metal ornaments, backgammon sets, objects of carved wood,

musical instruments like small violins, horns and lutes are numerous examples of wood

articles currently made in Turkey.



Reflecting a Rich Cultural Heritage Combined With Contemporary Designs…

Turkey has a long history of silver craftsmanship including classical products of bygone

days and current silver products which are very popular export items.


The art of gold and silver jewellery has an important place in traditional Turkish metal

working. According to the findings being evaluated from archeological excavations, the art

of telkari has been an old tradition in Turkey since the 15th century.


Telkari handcraftsmanship is a jewellery decoration. It is also named “vav working”. Telkari

which has a special place in traditional handicrafts is a symbol of the decoration concept of

Turkish culture, excellence and elegance.


Mardin-Midyat, Ankara-Beypazarı and Trabzon are the most important centers for the

Telkari handcrafted production in Turkey.


Today, Turkish silver jewellery manufacturers are creating modern and decorative pieces

of silver art by using a combination of ancient and modern technologies, ancient and

contemporary designs with high quality finishing.




The total Turkish handicraft and giftware exports totaled US $ 335.3 million in 2011. Handmade

carpets had the largest share in exports. Major export markets were the USA, Japan

and France. The next largest product group in the exports was silver jewelry.

Turkish silver jewellery sector has increased its exports significantly in the past ten years.


Major destinations were the USA, Germany and the UAE in 2011.




There are some 4 major trade fairs organized yearly in the sector.

􀂃 “Bijoux Expo Turkiye”

􀂃 “SOUVEEXPO-Souvenir Expo Turkey”

􀂃 “PROMOTURK- International Promotional Products Exhibition”

􀂃 “ZUCHEX- International Ideal Home Houseware, Glassware, Decorative Products

and Dowry Fair” all held in Istanbul in September every year.



􀂃 Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Central Directorate of Revolving Funds



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