Turkish Wood Carving - Very Unique

Artefacts found in the burial mounds of Central Asia and excavations at Pazırık have demonstrated that the Turks have engaged in the various arts of wood working and decoration from early times.

Woodwork, as an art, was born of the decoration of architectural elements. In Islamic art, particularly that of the Omeyyads (661-750) and Abbasids (750-1100), we find the emergence of a distinctive new style, and this was followed in the 11th to 13th centuries by that of the Seljuk Turks, who produced exquisitely carved pulpits, lecterns and caskets, as well as doors and other architectural elements.

The rumis and palmettes, as well as inscriptions in the Seljuk writing used as decorations on lecterns made of solid walnut are striking examples surviving from the Seljuk era. However, it was the Ottomans who carried this art to its highest level.

The Ottomans generally worked with plant and geometric motifs in the 15th century; they used ivory and pearl engraving techniques, particularly on the Koran covers and lecterns of the 15th century.

Ottoman wooden art featured column capitals, cornices, chest of drawers, wardrobe covers, doors and windows, rostrums, lecterns, the Koran covers, shelves, boxes and drawers made of boxwood, linden, oak, walnut, apple, pear, cedar, rose and ebony. Having mastered the wood-working techniques of the Anatolian Seljuks, Ottoman craftsmen developed the “Kündekari” technique.

The Kündekari technique
The Kündekari technique, of which the earliest examples were found in Egypt, Aleppo and Anain the12th century, involves fixing small geometric pieces together with grooves. No nails or other fixatives are used. Thus, the works of art created with this technique have survived until today without being damaged by the environment. The grains of individual pieces were placed crosswise, so moisture or heat would not pass from one to another. As a result, works of kündekari art have maintained their good condition and smoothness throughout centuries.

• Skylife, 4/ 98, “The Story of Turkish Wood Carving” by Devrim Erakalın
• Türk Sanatı (Turkish Art), Doğan Kuban. Source:www.motiftr.com.