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Interview with Türkiye

1. Are there any cultural highlights you would like to share on your country?

  Türkiye has a special geographical location, straddling Eurasia, and Istanbul was once the capital of Rome, Byzantium and Ottoman Empire. Türkiye is exceptionally rich in archeological heritage boasting 19,475 registered archeological sites. Türkiye’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage is unique in the world.
  Türkiye is home to 16 cultural and 2 mixed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mixed heritage sites contain elements of both natural and cultural significance. History comes alive as you travel within Türkiye. Sites with unique culture and historical significance can be admired and will enrich your knowledge of humanity’s extensive heritage.
  Many civilizations from the earliest ages of humanity have settled in Türkiye and have left their mark across this beautiful country. Spectacular examples of natural wonders stand side by side with this rich cultural heritage.

2. Are there any special exhibits / cultural items that people shouldn’t have missed at your Pavilion?
What’s so special about it?

Turkish Ceramics and Tiles
  According to research, Turkish ceramics and tiles have their roots in Central Asia and date back to 8th and 9th centuries. After settling in Anatolia (1071), Turks combined their techniques with the Anatolian methods of different civilizations, which made ceramics since the first ages. This art which further developed and reached its highest level of technique and aesthetics especially during the Seljuk and Ottoman times, constituted an important element of Islamic art.
  The Ottomans further developed the existing techniques, shapes of tiles and used different colours. They continued to produce geometrical and floral motifs. In the course of time, a shift towards a more naturalistic style appeared.
Art of Copper Work
  Copper, which is known to be the first metal that has been utilized especially in weapon making since the prehistoric ages, began to be widely utilized thereafter, in other fields as well. Findings from archeological excavations indicate that copper mining has started around 10 thousand years ago, in Çayönü, located in Anatolia. Accordingly, it was also uncovered that the earliest refining process has been carried out in 7000 BC in Çatalhöyük, which has been an important center of culture, during the transition period regarding mining production.
  Today, copper working is widespreadly exercised throughout Turkey. Gaziantep, Mardin and Diyarbakır are the provinces, well known with their coppersmith bazaars.
Evil Eye Bead
  The “eye” figure has always been seen as a powerful tool in history, to repel the evil, in many cultures. Taking into account that eyes reflect the good and bad thoughts, the blue coloured stones which are considered to have absorbent characteristic have been used for protection from the evil eye since old times. Evil eye beads which have importance for the faiths and traditions are also used as ornaments.
  In Turkey, evil eye bead is the most widespread item which was used to become protected from negative energy. The people attach evil eye beads on their children and loved ones to protect them. The evil eye beads are generally hang out at homes and offices for good fortune.

3.Would you please give us some background information and highlight on the Cultural Performance?

Ebru Art Performance by Ms Selen Bekiroğlu, Turkish Artist based in Hong Kong
  “Ebru” (paper marbling) is an art of decoration, in which the patterns, made on condensated water by the use of ‘kitre’ (tragacanth) and specially prepared paints, are transformed to paper. The etymological origin of the word “Ebru” means the ‘cloud’ in Persian language.
  The roots of “Ebru” are estimated to date back to the 9th century. However, it would be proper to say that this art has been flourished following the invention of ‘paper’. The art, that was called “Ebri” at the time of its arrival in Iran from Central Asia in the 16th century via the ‘Silk Road’, has been named with this Persian word corresponding to “referring to the cloud”, as it contained shapes which were similar to cloud banks. Ebru papers called as “light ebru”, which were made of pale colors in order to be overwritten easily, are of essential importance in determining the exact date of this art. The art of Ebru, which was born in Central Asia, has reached Iran and the Ottoman Empire thereafter. The earliest ebru, the date of which was confirmed, goes back to the year of 1447. It is preserved in the Topkapı Palace, Istanbul today. Many “ebruzen” (ebru artists) have acquired skills during the period of the Ottomans. Papers having ebru patterns in the background have been used in this era, in official letters and documents. The aim was not only to maintain the aesthetic values, but also to prevent forgery. Ebru has been widely exercised at this period, alongside with the art of calligraphy.
  One similar version of the art of Ebru is the “Suminagashi”, that has been exercised in Japan since the 12th century. Its main difference from Ebru is the use of the water. The Japanese have used water at room temperature together with Chinese ink. In Turkey, on the other side, the ‘kitre’, that thickens the water and enables the paint not to lose its qualities, has been in practice.
  Şebek Mehmet Efendi was the earliest known Ebru artist in the Ottoman Empire. His works were used as ‘background’ in the calligraphies, which have been done in 1595 in respect of three poems of the famous poet Fuzuli. Likewise, Hatib Mehmed Efendi was another prominent master of Ebru.
  The art of Ebru has also different variations in itself. They are called “tidal ebru”, “nightingale’s nest”, “paisley”, “toothed”, “oratorical” or “flowered ebru”.
  Madder is used in traditional Ebru. Today, water soluble and non-subsiding paints are utilised as well. The sky, nature, and the land are the main inspirations. Along with various types of patterns, in the past, the most common motif was the ‘tulip’. The tulip has represented unity, in other word, the God. Flowers like the clove and hyacinth together with various subjects were also thematised later.
  The earliest work in Turkish language in regard to Ebru was titled “Tertib-i Risale-i Ebri”, probably written after 1615. Ebru has become one of the most important professions during the Ottoman period and has flourished in the course of time.
  Today, several Ebru courses are exercised in workshops, in which the artists who are expected to carry this art into the future are trained. The main fields where the art of Ebru is used are products, such as various clothes, glass, wooden goods, curtains, ceramics, glazed tiles, neckties and mats.

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