Paper Cut

Katı', which is one of our Turkish book arts, consists of carving a writing or pattern off a paper or leather with a cutter in order to paste it onto another surface with a mixture of water and a special paste known as muhallebi. In the art of katı', the part which is removed and pasted is called the male carving and the carved part the female carving. The masters of the paper carving art are called efşanbür or katı'an. The art of katı' which mainly includes adornment patterns or flowers is generally performed on book covers, albums, manuscripts, murakkas and hat boards.

The art of paper and leather carving has firstly appeared in China two thousand years ago as a folk art and presumably expanded into the Islamic world through Central Asia. It started to be performed during the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century and has reached its golden era during the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent. After the 19th century, due to economic, social and military reasons classic Turkish arts such as traditional binding, calligraphy, ebrû and katı' started to regress.

Since the 1920's, Professor in Ordinary Süheyl Ünver has aimed at reviving katı' along with many other art forms with the works that he has been conducting with his students in the Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, the Department of Deontology and History of Medicine that he founded.