Friday, 14 June 2024

Traditional Art in Konya; reverse glass painting

One of Konya's disappearing traditional handicrafts is reverse glass painting. Public tastes evolved and reverse glass paintings became obsolete. Today, however, there are artists who work for collectors by reproducing ancient specimens using innovative techniques. Plates featuring religious, literary, and social topics made using a specific method are known as reverse glass paintings. They were hung in houses, coffee houses, mosques, and lodges for good luck, to protect against the evil eye, to bring fertility or for aesthetic purposes. Reverse glass paintings became widespread at the end of the 19th century because they were cheap and easy to produce. Until recently, reverse glass masters produced and sold artifacts in Konya.

The art of under-glass painting constitutes an important branch of Turkish folk painting. Glass paintings, which showed a great development in our country between the 19th and early 20th centuries, were generally met with great interest by the public because they were of religious origin in terms of the subjects they dealt with. It was believed that these paintings had a protective power against human eyes, diseases and various disasters and that they would bring abundance and abundance to where they were. In this sense, under glass paintings, lithograph wall paintings (slabs), especially houses; It was hung on the walls of religious places such as mosques, tekkes, tombs, coffee houses and various shops.

The late Malik Aksel has revealed that reverse glass paintings are a prominent area of folk painting. “In old folk tales, one fell in love not only with the beautiful itself, but also with its image. Is this image a painting in the sense that we know and understand? Or a magic, a talisman? Or is the soul of the beloved permeated in the painting? It is not certain. If there is only one thing that is known, it is that the painting takes place in folk tales both as a subject and as a painting. Alternatively, individuals who are preoccupied with this might find reasons to justify their actions in the face of the painting prohibition. In traditional stories, painting usually takes on a significant, even sacred personality." The heroes of folk tales such as Ferhat and Şirin, Köroğlu, Hikâye-i Şapur Çelebi, Mahi Varaka and Gülşah, Shah İsmail are portrayed simply. Today, in some mosques and private collections, there are examples painted with motifs such as Mecca-Medina views, Shahmaran, Hazrat Ali and his Camel.

Reverse glass paintings were made in a small workshop with some special tools and paints. Inscription, figures, landscapes, and architectural structures are created reversely from behind the glass in these paintings. For this reason, it is also called “behind the glass” painting. The color that appears in the backdrop is painted as the last touch after the painting is done. The flat application of colors and the absence of light and shadow in the figures distinguish Turkish reverse glass paintings.


The most distinctive feature of Turkish glass paintings is the use of colors as flat, the absence of light or shadow and therefore volume effect on the figures Writing and writing-illustrated compositions were often decorated with decorative large flowers, flower bouquets and wreaths or geometric shapes, a border consisting of small flowers, and sometimes they were shown in a curtained décor containing various colors. The curtain motif was also a common element in European under-glass paintings. As a result of the Ottoman Empire's cultural relations with Western countries that started in the 18th century, the effects of Baroque and Rococo art were seen in Turkish art.