Edging Embroidery

Popular Culture


Edging Embroidery

Turkish Embroidery

Handicrafts have been around since the first human beings, depending on the prevailing natural conditions. The first examples came about as a result of meeting clothing and protection needs. Later, these crafts developed and changed in line with environmental conditions and took on “traditional” characteristics by reflecting the feelings, artistic approval and cultural characteristics of the society concerned.

Handicrafts represent and promote a nation’s culture. They are thus the living specimens of the cultural identity of that country. They play a role in transferring and progressively continuing the customs, traditions and lifestyle of a country from one generation to the next. For this reason, all countries attach importance to their handicrafts and protect them as a cultural heritage from the past to future.

Anatolia is an important cradle of civilization, where many handicrafts were made and introduced to the world, in terms of the variety and quantity of those crafts.

Handcrafts reflect the taste, aesthetics, emotions, tolerance and practical nature of Turkish people. The best-known examples of traditional handicrafts, such as rugs, socks, embroidery, ornaments etc. come from the very heart of the Turkish people, and are documents in which the incredible beauty of art is laid out.

Oya (edging embroidery) is one of the most elegant examples of Turkish handicrafts and has been described as: "thin lacework” or “decorative silk or thread knitted and fringed onto women’s clothes (outdoor slippers etc.) by needle-work or else by sewing on ready-made ones.”

“Oya is the name of ornamentation knitted by a colored thread in the shape of a leaf or flower,” “Oya is a kind of lacework. It is characteristic of Türkiye. Normal lacework has two dimensions, however, whereas oya can be knitted in three. It is placed on the sides of the fabric as a decoration,” “Oya is an art that involves knitting techniques with the aim of embellishment and decoration.” One might also describe oya as a handicraft made by tools such as needles, weaver’s shuttles, awls and hair-pins and by using auxiliary objects such as silk, cotton, spangles and beads.

Oya, which is also known as, Turkish lacework became popular in Europe in the 16th century. It entered the French Academy Dictionary under the name of lacework in 1594, and is known in some Western languages by the same name. Research into the first appearance of lacework in Europe and its origins has shown that some knitting names were used in Aegean fairy-tales. It has been established from the examples found in the carvings in Menfiz in 1905 that the history of this art goes back some 2,000 years before Christ. In some sources it is stated that needlework was brought to Greece from Anatolia in the 12th century and passed on to Europe by way of Italy. Not enough research into oya has yet been carried out. No other similar technique exists, nor any word similar to ‘oya’ in either Eastern or Western languages

Anatolian women reflect their emotions in colours and oya. Turkish oya varies from region to region, as do the names employed for it.

Today in Anatolia, the oya-work designed as a contour or as an artistic design that is applied with tools such as awls, needles, weaver’s shuttles and hair-pins has different names depending on the tool and the technique used: