processing is a traditional handicraft in Turkey and was developed
greatly during the Ottoman period. Istanbul's traditional leather
manufacturing industry was concentrated in the district of Kazlicesme,
where Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror had 360 tannery shops built to be
rented out to leather craftsmen. Over the next 500 years Kazlicesme
became a notorious eyesore which could be smelt long before it came
into sight and the hundreds of small manufacturers have now been moved
to a spacious modern industrial estate in Pendik.
Although it is a big industry, leather-wear is still very dependent on
personal appeal and touch. It is also risky, time-consuming, laborious
and therefore costly. It takes about 45 days to transform a skin into
leather ready for dying and nearly 60 days from skinning to the
finished garment. Also the volume of livestock in Turkey is not
increasing at a sufficiently high rate to keep up with the industry's
all these difficulties, the leather sector comes after textiles in
terms of export figures. The principal markets for Turkish leather
goods today are the European Union countries led by Germany and then
purchasing leather goods, one should be aware of the very wide range
of products; different animal skins, baby lamb, lamb, suede, nubuk,
pelluria, etc. and their differing qualities and prices
A carpet is more a
work of art than an article which people step on for everyday use.
70% of the tourists
coming to Turkey return to their homes with carpets because Turkey is
a treasure-house of carpets.
understand how valuable Turkish carpets are, it is better to go back
to their origin. For a nomad who lived in a tent, home was a simple
place; a combination of walls, roof and floor. The floor was not
usually an elaborate structure, just a simple carpet laid directly
onto the earth. The carpet was a bug-excluder, soil leveler,
temperature controller and comfort provider all in one.
texture of the material beneath one's feet was sensual proof that this
was home and not the wild.
the history of the carpet, various fragments exist from the 56C AD,
but it is only from the Seljuk period in Anatolia that many more
pieces have survived. Marco Polo, during his journey through Seljuk
lands towards the end of the 13C reported that the best and finest
carpets were produced in Konya.
Since a carpet is
more of a work of art, the deeper meanings of each design cannot be
neglected. A carpet can be likened to a poem; neither can tolerate any
extra element which does not contribute to its wholeness and value.
Therefore, just like in a poem, each pattern of a carpet is chosen for
its beauty and motifs are carefully arranged to form rhymes.
carpets carry a wide range of symbols. For many centuries, Anatolian
women have been expressing their wishes, fears, interests, fidelity
and love through the artistic medium of carpets. Even so, there are
typical repeated motifs changing from region to region; geometric
designs, tree of life, the central medallion design, the prayer niches
in prayer rugs, etc.
Turkish carpets are
made of silk, wool or cotton. A silk pile gives a carpet the great
brilliance. Cotton-warped carpets almost always have a more rigid and
mechanical appearance than woolen-warped. Yarns have been used in
their natural colors or colored with dyes extracted from flowers,
roots and insects.
are made on vertical looms strung with 3 to 24 warp (vertical) threads
per cm (8 to 60 per in) of width. Working from bottom to top, the
carpet maker either weaves the rug with a flat surface or knots it for
a pile texture. Pile rugs use 57.5 cm / 23 in lengths of yarn tied
in Turkish (Gordes) or Persian (Sehna) knots with rows of horizontal
weft yarn laced over and under the vertical warp threads for strength.
After the carpet is completely knotted, its pile is sheared and the
warp threads at each end are tied into a fringe. The finer the yarn
and the closer the warp threads are strung together, the denser the
weave and, usually, the finer the quality.
The best-known flat-woven
rug is the kilim which is lighter in weight and less
bulky than pile rugs. It has a plain weave made by shooting the weft
yarn over and under the warp threads in one row, then alternating the
weft in the next row. The sumak type is woven in a
herringbone pattern by wrapping a continuous weft around pairs of warp
a tour of a carpet production center is highly recommended in order to
have firsthand experience of this art and to see a full range of the
different designs exhibited