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Fine Arts of Turkey

Fine arts which have been produced since mankind’s earliest days are an integral part of Turkish culture too.

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Turkey is said to be one of the finest destinations for tourists to visit, and why not? From its warm weather to the numerous sights and attractions it has to offer, it is only fitting that people love to visit the place! Another feature that makes Turkey so attractive to visitors is that it is a goldmine for arts and culture. Fine arts have always been an integral part of Turkish culture and today, that has not changed. Here is a list we made of some of the most amazing and distinctive traditional fine arts of Turkey, which you are sure to be able to see if you ever visit this goldmine of culture.


Ottoman and Islamic Art

Turkish art is largely influenced by Ottoman and Islamic art and has been reflected in Turkish art for centuries! Drawing inspiration from the use of patterns, Islamic art found in Turkey has long been admired by art-lovers from all around the world. The most important contributions of the Turkish Ottoman and Islamic Art are ebru, illumination, calligraphy, miniature painting, and gilding. Here are some pictures of these different styles of Islamic and Ottoman Art. 


Ebru is the art of marbling on paper, with color being carefully floated on plain water or on viscous solutions, only to be transferred onto paper or fabric. 


Illumination and Gilding, known as Tezhip in Turkish, is the art of ‘turning something into gold’. It can be done using gold leaf or gold paint. 


The art of the decoratively written Diwani Script, calligraphy is characterized by text, written in the style of patterns, with complex lines and the close juxtaposition of letters.


Miniature paintings were frequently used to highlight Ottoman manuscripts and is a widely renowned form of Turkish art today, popular worldwide.


Turkish Craftsmanship

Turkish craftsmanship sets a fine example of the brilliance of Turkish handicrafts and is categorized into stonework, metalwork, woodwork, and the use of animal leather, fur, bone, and horns. Crafts are distinct, with intricate, often geometric patterns. 


Stonework: The use of stones in art began when the Turkish arrived in Anatolia. It is used decoratively in Turkish ornamenting and in spite of alterations across time, has retained its original splendor. Using pattern-based art, the most common motifs you can see in Turkish stonework include inlaid work, plant figures, and low-embossed animal figures. Tourists can view Turkish stonework examples across Turkey in different monuments and structures. 


Metalwork: Metalwork has a long and important history in Turkey, and copper plays an important role in Turkish metalwork. It is used extensively for building daily objects (such as kitchen utensils), jewelry and helmets, and doors and creating intricate designs on doors.


Woodwork: Initially meant to cater to the needs of people and not meant for aesthetics, Turkish woodwork has sure found itself a different place in the hearts of art-lovers today. As with most other forms of Turkish art and handicrafts, Turkish woodwork too is characterized by ornate and intricate patterns. It has been used in both architectures and in daily objects. 


Animal-sourced raw materials like leather, bones, fur, and horns have been used to create fashion accessories like purses and shoes, book bindings, utensils, and woolen handicrafts. 

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Handmade Products

Turkish handmade products will leave you marveling at the sheer beauty of the finished product and the skills required to craft them. The distinct styles of handmade products include lacework, embroidery, carpets, and handmade dolls. 


Lacework is popular all across Turkey and has different names based on the instrument and methods employed in creating it. You can see wonderful lacework using different patterns and motifs. 

Embroidery: As with nearly all other Turkish arts and crafts, embroidery too, makes the use of delicately elegant patterns and motifs.

Carpet: Woven from silk, cotton, wool, or a blend, carpets are important to the Turkish culture, as they also serve religious purposes and can be found in their artistic glory in mosques. Styles vary from region to region. 

Handmade Dolls: Handmade dolls reflect the clothing styles of Ottoman and Anatolian people, and these clothes are created using regional fabrics. The dolls are shaped completely by hand, from scratch, without any machines or molding tools, and are usually made of wood, cotton, fabric and so on.


Turkish Ceramics and Tiles

One of the most renowned and splendid forms of art that the Turkish practice, is that of designing Turkish ceramics and tiles. In fact, this style is so popular that people across the world have adopted it today. The chances that you know someone who owns different goods made in this style are really high!


The chances that they did not even know of its Anatolian origins are even higher - and so, we thought it was important to shed some light on some of the practices followed in this art form. Evolved from a simple amalgamation of clay, metal, nonmetal, and oxide, ceramics have become an integral part of Turkish society.


Ceramic art reflects the religious beliefs, social values, and sensitivity of Turkish communities. The art of Turkish ceramics includes tile-making and decorative roof and wall-work. A number of institutions exist today, to keep this distinctive art form alive, and educational institutions exist in old, 17th-century ceramic art production centers like Iznik, Kutahya, and Canakkale. 

The next time you see someone in possession of goods made using this lovely art form, you should definitely tell them about where this art comes from! 


The rich culture of fine arts is one that you can still see in practice today and is promoted heavily by the Turkish department of tourism. We would love to hear more about your experiences with the fine arts you saw, in shops or in museums, and what really stood out in your mind about the things you saw!