Traditional Weaving

Weaving includes every kind of fabric, knitting, upholstery, carpet, kilim, zili, cicim, felting, etc. that are produced by clasping the fibers with different methods or spinning the fabric in order to make it into threads.  Traditional Turkish weaving produced by the use of wool, cotton, angora, silk, linen can be classified as home, market and palace weavings. Turkish weaving has been performed since ancient times in Anatolia and become a strong art field during the Ottoman era.

The art of weaving has reached its peak in the 16th century; imperial order documents dating back to the ruling of Murat III (1574-1595) prove that there were 286 weaving stations in Istanbul 88 of which belonged to the imperial palace. Bursa has been known with its silky and velvet fabrics while Istanbul with its luxurious fabrics made especially for the palace and also with fabrics known as diba and atlas, the provinces of Bergama, Soma, Denizli of Western Anatolia with cotton weavings, Ankara with its wool called sof, Chios again with the fabric atlas and Amasya with its patterned fabrics called benek (dot). During the Ottoman era, the art of weaving has kept its traditional traits until the 18th century, however afterwards European fabrics started to dominate the Turkish market. Nowadays, in the Şile district of Istanbul, linen and cotton weaving known as the Şile bezi (Şile cloth) is still ongoing. In the Çatalca district wool şayak, cotton clothes; and in the villages of the Silivri district şayak for clothes, table, bed and pillow covers are weaved.

Traditional art of carpet has mainly developed in regions were Turks have inhabited. The nod technique has been brought to the west from Central Asia during the Abbasid Empire and under the Turkish ruling of the Seljuks, it first expanded throughout the Islam world and many other regions. After the Seljuk carpets, Turkish art of carpetry has entered its second glamorous stage in the 16th century with carpets produced in the province of Uşak and its surroundings. Evliya Çelebi indicated that in the mid 17th century, there were 111 carpet traders within the Istanbul trade chamber. The patterns and ornaments in the Turkish carpet and kilims reflected the original decorative richness of the Turkish art. Turkish art of carpetry resisted to the period of depression that started in the 18th century with its strong technique and rich patterns and continued on reflecting the simple and naive characteristic of the Turkish folk art through the 19th century. Currently, in old carpet centers in Kayseri, Sivas, Konya, Kırşehir and its surroundings, Isparta, and in Uşak, Bergama, Kula, Gördes, Milas, Çanakkale of the Western Anatolia and in the Eastern Anatolia, production activities are still ongoing in order to keep our traditional art alive.