Polychrome Wall Paintings

Kalemişi (pen work), also known as kalemkâri, includes ornaments made by thin and long brushes called kalem (pen) on architectural structures such as walls, vaults, domes on straight or curved surfaces of wood, rock, cloth, plaster, leather by the use of colored paints, reliefs and at times gold leafs. The masters of these ornaments are called kâlemkar and the ones that prepare the ornaments nakkaş. During the Ottoman Empire, kalemişi was the most important ornament method in the civil architectural structures such as palaces, mansions or in religious structures along with glazed tiles.

Among the examples of kalemkâri made on vaults and domes that are still present nowadays are the Divriği Ulu Mosque and hospital built in 1228-1229 is the most important. Kalemişi technique differs from frescos due to its superficiality.

Nowadays technically, the pencil drawn patterns are pierced with a needle, then transferred to a surface which has been shaken with coal dust made from willow trees and the ornaments are painted and contoured. Kalemişi includes different techniques such as malakârî, over the plaster, over the wood, over the rock - marble.