[PT2021] World famous home of tiles - Kutahya

IOS 19 banigochha.ios19 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 10 02:55:24 EST 2021

Kutahya is one of the places which first comes to mind when speaking of
tiles and pottery. Ceramics production has been central to the city's
economy since the 14th century and possibly earlier, due to the abundance
of fine quality clay in the area, although Kutahya's ceramics only gained
widespread fame from the 18th century onwards. As well as tiles the
potteries here produced bowls, cups, plates, rosewater sprinklers, hanging
ornaments, jugs, lemon squeezers, bottles, ewers, flasks, vases and
figurines. Early examples of Kutahya tiles dating from the late 14th
century were made of red paste and had designs very similar to those of
Iznik, but painted in a darker palette of cobalt blue, manganese purple,
turquoise and black closely resembling the colour scheme of Seljuk tiles.
In the mid-15th century blue and white tile designs became common and the
quality improved, although they were still overshadowed by the magnificent
Iznik tiles.

Rivalry between the two cities dates from this period, when the Iznik
potteries were patronised by the palace in Istanbul and devoted almost all
its production capacity to orders from the court and court circles.
Kutahya, on the other hand, continued to produce cheaper ware for ordinary
people. Towards the end of the 16th century the Iznik potteries began to
decline, and the Kutahya potteries gradually began to supersede them in the
17th century. The falling quality of Iznik tiles undoubtedly played a part
in this development. In the 18th century production in Iznik stopped
entirely and, freed from the influence of their old rivals, the Kutahya
potters began to produce ware in a distinctive style of their own. Now
their tiles and pottery ware were characterised by vigorous designs in free
brush strokes. The tiles of this golden age have never been surpassed in
terms of design or quality. They were made of white or cream coloured
paste, with designs painted over white slip and covered by transparent

Green, yellow, turquoise, cobalt blue, brick red and manganese purple were
the predominant colours used not only for traditional designs such as
tulips and other flower motifs, but the figures of women in local costume,
birds and horsemen which characterise this period. In 1709 Sultan Ahmed III
ordered 9500 tiles for the palace being built for his daughter Fatma Sultan
in Istanbul, and many other orders for Kutahya tiles were placed, for
mosques and churches in Istanbul and other cities as far afield as
Jerusalem. Tiles fell out of fashion towards the end of the 18th century,
only to be revived again in the latter part of the 19th century by the
architects of the First National Architecture Movement. The most famous
tile painter of this late period was Canakci Haci Hafiz Mehmed Emin Efendi
(1872-1922), who learnt the art of tile painting from Mehmed Hilmi Efendi,
an Istanbul artist who had been exiled to Kutahya. During the same period
more durable tiles made of clay with a higher silica content began to be p

The designs of these tiles, painted in dark blue, turquoise, dark green,
yellow and brick red, feature peonies, large curving leaves, spring
blossom, naturalistic carnations, tulips and hyacinths, and vases of
flowers. One of the most famous early 20th century Kutahya potters was Haci
Minas. However, the revival was shortlived, and demand for Kutahya tiles
slumped between 1920 and 1960. The efforts of Faik Kirimli played a major
role in the section recovery. Using ferrous sulphate, Kirimli succeeded in
producing the coral red which had been the most distinctive colour of 16th
century Iznik tiles. One of the most celebrated modern Kutahya potters is
Sitki Olcar , best known both in Turkey and abroad for his blue and white
tiles in Iznik style designs. He uses a granulated glaze, and has revived
the colour turquoise of the Ottoman period and the earlier Seljuk yellow.

Today Kutahya not only has hundreds of small and large potteries producing
tiles and ceramic ware, but large porcelain factories producing primarily
dinner services, and has grown into a thriving industrial city. Kutahya
Tile Museum, which opened in 1999, contains examples of Kutahya tiles
produced over the centuries.

Planning a trip to Turkey soon? Check this website for
https://madeinturkeytours.com/turkey/ offering private tours for all type
of interests and age groups.

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