Crafts Catalog for World Creation: Turkish Craft

Click here to read the article in 日本語.

Hello and Welcome! This is KB from the PicoN! editorial team.

This is the second installation of my Crafts Catalog for World Creation series, where I introduce items and crafts from various cultures around the world.

Today I’ll introduce some of the unique and aesthetically mesmerizing arts and handcrafts from the Republic of Türkiye! Of course, this measly article can’t possibly do justice to the vast and complex arts of the Republic of Türkiye, but hopefully I can provide some information that will inspire your to take a deeper look at the intricacies of the culture for your creative processes!

Tile and Ceramics

You can’t talk about Turkish arts without mentioning ceramics. The history of Turkish ceramics and pottery is long and rich, and includes a wide array of different styles, techniques, methods and design trends.

Beautiful even by themselves, it’s breathtaking to see thousands of Çini tiles decorating the walls of Turkish Mosques and other important buildings.

One of the most well-known arts of Türkiye is Çini, or Earthenware Tiles. Tiles were used extensively to decorate interior and exteriors of buildings. Beginning with glazed bricks arranged to create geometric shapes, the art of tile making in Türkiye developed more and more complex and creative techniques. Tiles mosaics, embossed tiles, and colouring glaze techniques were some of the techniques used. Motifs in Turkish tile art include symbolic animal and human figures reminiscent of shamanism and older religions practiced in Türkiye long ago, but styles shifted over Türkiye’s history, with later motifs including calligraphy, floral designs and geometric shapes and patterns.

More colours are used in modern ceramics compared to the earlier styles of İznik Pottery, but you still see many of the same patterns and motifs.

The same motifs can be seen in many of Türkiye’s ceramic works. İznik Pottery is a well-known type of Turkish ceramics. It is said to have begun imitating Chinese porcelain, using primarily cobalt-blue on a white background, but both the creation techniques and designs used in İznik Pottery are distinct from Chinese ceramics and unique to Türkiye. İznik Pottery itself went through many different stylistic fads, incorporating a wide array of motifs, writing and colours that reflect the freedom and creativity of artists in Türkiye.


Nazar Boncuğu decorations are said to ward off evil and are displayed everywhere throughout Türkiye.

Glass beads, precious stones and metal are used in many Turkish accessories.

Glasswork has a long and rich history in Türkiye. Stained-glass techniques were used from before the Ottoman Empire. Glass casting and blowing techniques also developed and spread throughout the country, creating a vibrant glass industry. Glass is one of he mediums used to make accessories and decorations like the Nazar Boncuğu (Nazar boncuk.) One of the most common motifs in Türkiye, this blue eye ornament is said to ward off evil, and is often given as a gift or displayed prominently.

Lamps served functionally as sources of light, aesthetically as interior decorations as well as symbolically, bringing good luck and protection to a home.

Another handicraft of Türkiye, Turkish lamps use colored pieces of glass to make wonderous and colorful mosaics. While the patterns and colour schemes used to make the lamps are varied and plentiful, designs often share similarities with other Turkish arts in the intricate geometric patterns motifs.


Turkish craftmen are well-known for the beauty and skill of their metalwork. Copper is especially significant in Turkish history, although other metals such as gold and silver are worked with equal finesse. The high quality craftmanship and beautiful detailed patterns in Turkish metalwork include many of the motifs found in other art, such as floral patterns and calligraphy.

Turkish craftmen are internationally known for their skill working metal.

Kitchenware and jewelry were common objects made from metal, and it is valued in Türkiye for being both functional as well as an art.

You can see the details of the fine vegetal and floral motifs on this piece of metalware.

Ebru (Paper Marbling)

Ebru is a long-practiced art in Türkiye. It is a method of dyeing or colouring paper in a process similar to that of the Japanese Suminagashi method. In Ebru, various pigments are applied to the surface of a viscous liquid. Various techniques are then used to manipulate the pigments on the surface of the liquid to create beautiful and organic designs before being transferred to paper.

There are many different styles of Ebru, but in all of them the end result it a singularly unique and mesmerizing piece of art. Originally used to decorate papers used in book-binding, recently Ebru has gained more recognition and attention as stand-alone works of art. Flowers are a very common motif in Ebru that take full advantage of the flowing and organic characteristic of the art.

Carpet and Rug Weaving

Türkiye is also famous for its beautiful and sophisticated handmade carpets and rugs. Organic dyes and natural colours are favoured. Designs are detailed and complex, giving the rugs an opulent look.

Traditional Turkish rugs and carpets are made using a variety of techniques, but all are hand-woven.

Natural colours and organic dyes give Turkish rugs and carpets a distinct look and elegance.

Motifs used in carpet design are classified as animal motifs, vegetal motifs, geometrical motifs, symbolic motifs and mixed motifs, however all animals are stylized to adhere to the Islamic belief that one shouldn’t create real images of living beings. Symbolic motifs would express things such as emotion like joy, characteristics such as strength, natural events such as storms, and concepts, such as the universe etc.

To Wrap Up…

Turkish art and design is a product of the long and continuously developing history of the country. Türkiye’s geographical position allowed for the adoption of influences from various peoples and cultures. The innovation and creativity in Turkish designs allowed for beautiful works of art that were also capable of expressing everything under the sun, from tangible objects to abstract ideas. In this article I briefly touched on ceramics, glass, metal, Ebru and weaving, but Turkish culture has much more to offer. (Turkish wood carving, stonework, embroidery, quilt making, Minyatür (miniature) illustrating, calligraphy, Tezhip gold-leafing illuminative art and Karagöz shadow theatre, to name a few!)

With that, I hope this brief peek at Turkish arts and handicrafts poked your curiosity and your creative bone! See you in the next article!

Special Thanks! to my friend, Miho and the Turkish arts and crafts store, sevinç8, who introduced me to Turkish crafts!

・Ayla ERSOY (2008), 『Traditional Turkish Arts』, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Libraries and Publications
・Türkiye Sustainable | Traditional Turkish Handicrafts and Their History
・Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism | Traditional Arts and Crafts
Handcraft GoTürkiye
・UNESCO| Ebru, Turkish art of marbling
・UNESCO | Hüsn-i Hat, traditional calligraphy in Islamic art in Turkey

↓Download the PicoN! App below!