Traditional Arts Using Wood

Traditional Arts With Wood

Woodworking goes back to the very earliest times and occupies an important place in traditional arts.

Before conversion to Islam, the Turks of Central Asia considered trees sacred and used them in their arts. In the excavations at Kurgan, and especially Pazirik, wooden objects and saddles have been found.

Only a few examples of wooden objects from the earliest times have survived due to the way wood rots underground.


This developed in Anatolia during the Seljuk period and formed its own unique characteristics. The Seljuks generally used wood for mosque and wardrobe doors. Ottoman products were rather plainer. In the Ottoman period, wood was used for household goods such as tripods, drawers, chests, spoons, thrones, Koran protectors and architectural objects such as windows, doors, joists, consoles, column heads, ceilings, mosque niches and minbars.

Walnut, apple, pear, cedar, ebony and rosewood are particularly popular, worked with different techniques such as coloring, relief, carving and caging.

Cane Sticks:

The production of walking sticks has survived to the present day in the provinces of Zonguldak, Bitlis- Ahlat, Gaziantep, Bursa, Istanbul- Beykoz and Ordu. In Türkiye, walking sticks have been used for centuries and became especially popular in the 19th century. The materials used and the work put into them account for their value. The handles are made of materials lsuch as silver, gold, bone and nacre, while the stems are made of such woods as rose or bamboo.

Production of Musical Instruments:

The production of musical instruments is another venerable tradition. Such instruments are made of materials including wood, plants, animal gut, hair, bone and horn. They can be classified as idiophones, membraphones and aerophones.

Making Packsaddles:

The wooden pillow placed on the backs of animals used for riding, such as donkeys, mules or carthorses is called a packsaddle. It can be made of wood, metal, sedge, leather or woven fabric. Strong cords are used in order to tie the packsaddle together.


Spoon-making still continues in some regions of Anatolia. In Konya in particular, spoons have been made since Seljuk times.

Boxwood, oak and pear are the most generally used woods. The spoons are shaped with the help of small adze or rasp, and are still made in the Akseki, Gediz and Tarakli regions.

Today, as well as spoons for the kitchen, there are also spoons in folk dances. Spoons are cleaned with emery paper, decorated with various designs and figures or writing, and then colored before being sold.