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Ottoman ceramics: symbols of love.

February 1, 2017

Turkey is the country which keeps its roots and traditions. All crafts here are made by same way as thousands years ago. The composition of the clay, paints, glazes, and, of course, technology absolutely the same as it was taken from the Middle Ages. This how we are able to admire the intricate patterns on all those well crafted dishes bowls, vases and jugs now like sultans did ages ago.


And (I believe you have already started to get used to it), of course, there are legend behind each pattern. :) For example. The rounds which you may see on the plate at the top of the page represents The Seven Hills of Istanbul. And the tulip is the symbol of the ruling Ottomans dynasty.


Are you ready for more legends? Read on :)




Turkish sultans adored tulip flowers. Tulip was revered as a sacred flower. It symbolized the harmony and beauty.


It was one of favorite motifs, the tulip was depicted in the pages of poetry books, on fabrics and carpets, clothing, weapons, the walls of mosques, jewelery and tableware. On the territory of Topkapi (the main residence of the sultans) located world-famous "Garden of tulips." Even the first third of the XVIII century in the history of the Ottoman Empire is known as "The Age of Tulips".  As you see, the tulips were loved.


But there was a special ottoman tulip, a red flower with pointed petals, which can only be seen in Istanbul. The taller and thinner were the petals of Istanbul tulip the more beautiful it considered. The shape of petals were compared with the tips of the swords, with the curves of the female eyebrow or with a graceful Arabic script. Persian poet Hafiz wrote about tulips: " Even rose can't be compared with virgin beauty of the tulip".



The story of Farhad and Shirin.


The legend says that Persian prince Farhad was unconsciously in love with a beautiful girl named Shirin.


Many guys had a dream to marry her. Envious rivals spread the rumor that Shirin was killed. Distraught, Farhad drove his frisky horse to the cliff and had crashed to death.


In the place where his blood fell to the ground, grew bright red flowers, is now a symbol of passionate love - the tulips.


During the Ottoman Empire, due to the fact that the tulip flower had a sacred meaning, going to the war every man used the image of a tulip or a harness horse, or a military helmet or on the shield. It was believed that the image of a tulip protect the soldier from injury and death... and will bring him safe to his beloved.


Another favorite motif was the clove - a symbol of eternal love and rebelliousness.


The goddess Artemis was focused on a hunt and suddenly saw a young shepherd, who does not take his eyes off her unearthly beauty, in spite of all prohibitions. Becauses he is instantly fell in love with the goddess. For disobeying the young man suppose to be mortified. 


But nymphs felt sorry for the guy, and begged the goddess not to kill him. Artemis did not took a shepherd's life, but came up with a strange penalty - turned the eyes of the shepherd into the cloves. Since then, this flower became a symbol of courage and rebelliousness and love.


So now you you may choose a nice piece of ceramic for yourself. You may wear it, you may decorate your house, you may present it to your dearest. But the thing is that in the age of technologies of the XXI century we still able to use a authentic handmade ceramics fool of sacral meanings and it is true miracle.


Thanks, Turkey, for keeping those wonders for us!


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