Traditional Arts Using Metal

Traditional Arts Using Metal

It is possible to classify traditional arts that use metals as a raw material according to the kind of metal employed, the purpose of the product, techniques employed etc.

It is known that in the Roman and Byzantine periods there were developed metal processing workshops in Anatolia. Beginning with the Seljuks, Islamic metalwork began to make progress. The Seljuks contributed to the development of metalwork in the same way that they did to that of many other branches of art.

In this period, there were developed metal workshops in the provinces of Konya, Mardin, Hasankeyf, Diyarbakır, Cizre, Siirt, Harput, Erzincan and Erzurum. It is also known that metalwork reached its highest level in Anatolia and the Balkans during the Ottoman period.

Ottomans metalwork centers are still functioning as centers of copperwork. These are: Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Siirt, Tokat, Malatya, Elazığ, Erzurum, Trabzon, Giresun, Ordu, Sivas, Tokat, Kayseri, Çankırı, Çorum, Amasya,

Kastamonu, Konya, Burdur, Denizli, Afyon, Kütahya, Balıkesir, Bursa, Istanbul and Edirne.

In metal crafts, various techniques including castting, telkari, scraping, hammer work, tapping, küftgani, savatlama, ajur and cutting are used.

Iron Working:

This is used for making doorknockers, kitchen equipment, harnesses, equipment for architecture, musical instruments etc.

In Anatolia, after the Bronze Age when copper was mixed with tin in order to produce bronze, metals such as copper, gold and silver were worked with various techniques such as casting.

Copper Working:

Research has shown that the history of copper working is very ancient and that copper mines have long been operating in Anatolia. Copper, which occupies an important place in Anatolian art, is also easily obtained.

Copper is widely used in daily life for pots, jewellery, helmets, and doorknockers and to decorate doors.

Copper is the mostly widely used metal. There are four techniques employed for making copper pots. These are: wroughting, casting, plating and pressing.

Today, copper is widely used for kitchen equipment, where the metal is plated with tin.

Knife Making:

The knife, a cutting instrument consisting of a handle and a sharp-bladed body, has been in use in Anatolia since prehistoric times. Sadly, however, very information is available about the development of the knife.

Knives are named according to their shapes such as; pala, hançer, gaddane and saldırma. Their handles are plated with ebony, ivory, siver or gold. The blades of knives made for the palace were decorated with different precious stones such as diamonds, coral, rubies and emeralds.

In the middle of 19th century, knives made by hand gave way to those made by machine, and knife making improved. Today, we see table knives made of rustproof steel with stable handles, and collapsible pocket knives.

In some regions of Anatolia, knife handles are still decorated with various techniques.

Gold and Silverwork:


Thin gold is worked in order to create three-dimensional objects, with various designs on them just before they loses their heat and while they are still pliable. Telkari is used for jewellery, cup holderss, boxes and mascara tubes.


This method is usually employed with silver. Small holes opened on the surface of the metal are filled with a special black solution. There are three types of savat; plain, serrated and carved. Boxes, watches, cup holders and cigarette holders are made with the technique.