The art of çini-making can be visually distinguished from other arts at first sight. Çini has managed to obtain a peculiar style due to cultural touches making them more special throughout the history.

Being made through baking clay soils formed as dough, household goods and wall panels made of glazed ceramic which are garnished with several colors and motives are referred as çini. On the other hand, çini-making refers to a craft shaped through the traditional Turkish art of çini-making that has remained alive along with its construction and ornament methods for centuries.

Social and Cultural Function of Çini-Making

The aspect has an important cultural function in handing down the space perception in the architecture in which societal practices, verbal traditions and religious rituals kept alive, and the practices regarding the nature and universe, aesthetic aspects and cuisine culture besides handing down the information and skills regarding the art of çinimaking to the next generations.

The everyday objects they use, public and religious structures they encounter frequently, the symbols and their allegoric expressions on the çini wares they have reflects the citizens’ religious beliefs, their viewpoints about the world, their life styles and aesthetic understandings to date as subtexts in an artistic way. Therefore, çinimaking contribute to the reinforcement of the cultural connection between the past and present, the senses of cultural sustainability, belonging and identity’s being handed down to the next generations. Garnishing the facades of the public and religious structures, the art of çini-making is a significant part of the city identity for Kütahya, İznik Çanakkale. Moreover, the art of çini-making constitute a particular part of the city image with regard to its giving their characters to symbolic structures in metropolitan cities such as Antalya, Bursa, Erzurum, Konya, Kayseri, Sivas and İstanbul.


“Çini-making is love in which ceramics merges with aesthetics and goes on for centuries…” “It is the composition of the values coming out from the hands of craftsmen and created by the motives blended adroitly…” The art of çini-making developed as a sub-branch of the art of ceramics and it is a precious art of ours in which societal and cultural motives are processed that developed through being handed down from Uyghurs to date. In this sense, çini which have been developed by Turkish people for their social and cultural life styles correspondingly for centuries, has an aspect that reflects the development of the art of ceramics. In this sense, it is clearly seen that after the acceptance of Islam, çinimaking has completed its development process, a historical process that continued till the Ottoman Empire period, covering the works made in the field of ceramics.

The processing method of çini-making that achieved by using hands peculiarly attributes an important value to it. Çini-making based on geometrical figures is extremely enjoyable despite the challenging implementation of the glazing technique which includes artistic styles such as transparent, matte, colorful, krakle in çini-making. Having enhanced their living conditions, Turkish people changed the composition of the values they used since they converted from nomadic living style to settled life style. Therefore, the approach for çini-making changed and it became an aspect in which geometrical figures were processed.

Generally the geometrical figures symbolizing cosmic ideas and beliefs, botanical ornaments and animal figures, various color combinations are used in order to garnish çini wares. It is a characteristic aspect on çini-making to use the color combinations such as cobalt blue, turquoise, green colors and red color on a white or navy blue base.

The most fundamental aspect that gives character to traditional art of çini-making and protects it, is the traditional craftsmanship distinguishing itself on the information and implementations, which were handed down from generation to generation, in terms of the supply of the raw material, preparation of the paints, the production and usage of the means of production, baking process, garnishing methods and aesthetical views. The craftsmen of çini are the conveyers and the implementers of the traditional art of çini-making. It is predicted that there are more than 5,000 craftsmen of çini in Turkey. At the workshops of çini, the masters of handicrafts, foremen, apprentices are referred as the “mechanics”,who forms the çini, “compositors” who garnish and decorate them, “painters” who paint the inner sections of the figures, “bakers” bake them. They are making up an important group for the conveyance and the implementation of this tradition.

Çini-Making As A Cultural Value

Generally the geometrical figures symbolizing cosmic ideas and beliefs, botanical ornaments and animal figures, various color combinations are used in order to garnish çini wares. It is a characteristic aspect on çini-making to use the color combinations such as cobalt blue, turquoise, green colors and red color on a white or navy blue base.

Çini-Making in Kütahya

The symbol of Kütahya promoting it to the whole world, “ÇiniMaking” is an important means of living for the citizens besides being the most important branch of art in Kütahya. The production of ceramics that started with Hittites in Kütahya, had developed constantly till the Ottoman period. Both Byzantine and Seljuk Cultures’ aspects had been used during the this çini-making period. Later on, the Ottoman effects were seen in Kütahya which entered into the periods of Beyliks. The colorful glazed çini from the early Ottoman period were seen in 1314 at Abdülvacit Efendi’s the symbolic coffin at Umur-Bin Savcı Medresesi (Madrasa) and in 1429 at II. Yakup Bey Türbesi (Tomb). The Ottoman art of ceramic and çini at 15th century stands out with its çini combined with white and blue.

The original white and blue ones can be found in Hisarbey Cami (1487) and Kükürt Köyü Cami (1697) Kütahya has been a çini-making center throughout the history. The production of çini still continues today in Kütahya traditionally. Besides being an art, the çini of Kütahya has many qualified aspects based on craftsmanship. They contributed many social and economic values to the citizens of Kütahya. The information about the art of çini and the implementations of their designation and processing methods are taught to young artists through the courses take place at the centers of the city that established based on çini-making.

The History of Çini-Making in Kütahya

The white and blue çini of the 15th century were used in the construction of the architectural works of İstanbul and Jerusalem besides the structures in Kütahya. It is seen that the process of the Kütahya art of çini and ceramic had slowed down in the 16th century and moreover, Kütahya çini had been used in many architectural works in İstanbul and other important centers. Becoming export goods and attaining rich aspects in terms of figures and colors, Kütahya ÇiniMaking is gaining ground today.