Wood Carving

Wood carving consists of shaping a wood material by the use of special sharp cutting tools. As wood is material that can be very easily shaped, wood carving has been performed since ancient times via the use of three techniques: cutting-carving, surface carving (relief), and three dimensional carving. After the Turks became Muslims, the art of carving was most widely performed in Turkistan. During the Seljuk Empire, many architectural constructions such as palaces, mosques, mescits, külliyes have been decorated with the combination of wood carvings with materials such as stones, tiles, bricks and plaster. Examples of wood engraved with the use of diverse techniques such as carving, caging, nailing, painting, lathing and kündekâri prove that the Islam art has reached an outstanding stage in this area.

Wood carving art which started to spread during the Ottoman Empire, especially since the 12th and 13th centuries has been called naht and many sectors that required the use of wood appeared in cities such as Bitlis, Bursa, Gaziantep, İstanbul (Beykoz) and Zonguldak.

In the 15th centuries, plant and geometric patterns were commonly used whereas in the 17th century, ivory and nacre inlay techniques were employed on Koran covers and reading desks (rahle). In the 18th century, European Baroque and Rococo styles have widely influenced the Ottoman wood carving art.