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TURKEY   >  BRIEF   >> Traditional Art

Traditional Arts Using Leather and Animal Wastes

Traditional arts employing raw materials from animal products, such as leather, fur, horn or bone can be classified according to the materials used or the purpose they are used for.

“Saraclik:” producing, repairing and decorating harnesses.

The harness is made to fit the horse’s neck to ease its natural movements and to protect it from any harmful blows. It consists of several parts, such as the paldum, head, bit, bent, side bent, arrow bent, halter and rein.

Water buffalo leather is used to produce harnesses. The oily leather is cut with a sharp knife and planed and sewn with a long, hard needle. All parts are filled with hemp fibres.

Producing the Yemeni (Flat-heeled Shoe):

Yemeni for the feet comes in different types. These are the Halep Annubi, black yemeni, rose and peachy yemeni.

Yemeni may be black, annabi (purple), bright red, which is called rose, or peach in colour depending on the type of leather employed.

Yemeni also comes in five shapes: Halebi, merkup, sharp nosed, long ear and curved and bright.

Carik (Rawhide Sandals):

Cariks, produced by a few craftsmen are still used in folk dances today.

In former times, men and women made their own cariks from water buffalo leather. The leather is cut in the shape of the foot, small holes are made in it and the leather is tied with cords.

Fur clothes and pelts have no place in traditional arts.


Bookbinding has no place in traditional arts.

Shadow Theatre Characters:

Karagöz is a kind of shadow theatre, in which objects made of leather (representing people, animals, plants, furniture etc.) are reflected onto a screen with the help of a strong light from behind.

In Karagöz plays, objects and people are animated by means of leather figures and designs. These figures are made of transparent camel, horse and donkey skins which are tanned by a special technique known as glass leather. The leather is cut into the shape of a particular object, moistened with water and left under rough paper for a while. The moistened leather is then placed on a mould, and the figure is drawn with a drawing pen and Chinese ink. The figure is then hammered out for a while to make it flat and wide. The leather is processed with special knives called “nevregan.” The leather is finally planed and cleaned.

Natural materials known as root dyes, pomegranate water, honey, tree bark, walnut shells and other dyes and Chinese ink are used to color the figures. These are colored on both sides, and ink is used to draw in the main lines. The holes for the sticks that hold the figures up are opened with a special tool called a “flower punch.” The component parts are tied to each other with a special binding technique and by using a surgical thread called “kat küt.”

Production of Agricultural and Kitchen Implements: Agricultural implements such as pickaxes, shovels, rakes and reaping hooks whose handles are made of wood and bodies of iron.

Traditional Arts Using Bone and Horn

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   Last update 21.December.2018 Thursday