Skip to main content

Culture & Arts

With so much focus on contemporary art in Istanbul, Turkey, at the moment, we thought its time to wind the clock back and look at the classical arts of Turkey. These traditional skills have been passed down through generations that have kept them alive. They form the backdrop to Istanbul, whether it’s the carpets on sale in the Grand Bazaar, the calligraphy that decorate the mosques, or the Iznik ceramics on the dining table. It is this ornate tapestry that conjures images of Ottoman sultans and intrepid explorers. Here are few of the most common examples.  Our focus is the Book Arts in particular.

Anatolian Chest

He created the Anatolia Chest brand with the aim of promoting Anatolian culture and heritage to the world under the roof of Leyra UK in London. While Anatolian chest carries handcraft motifs from the masters of Anatolia to Europe and America, it also carries the inspiration of Europe to the Middle East.
The Anatolian Chest takes its inspiration from the very heart of our Anatolia and gently connects distant cultures, in this context, it acts as an enormous and bidirectional cultural attaché.
Anatolian Chest brings to light the craftsmanship that Anatolia has handed down to each other for generations, with its unique interpretation, and presents it to the likes of Europe and even America.

Allaira : With the Allaira Candle and Allaira Gold brands it created under the roof of Leyra UK, it carries the unique handcraftsmanship of Anatolia to America.

Allaira Candle

Limited production candle collections, which take their design from the aesthetics of European architecture, invite you to an enormous layered ethnic blend scent, where locally grown scents with the craftsmanship of Anatolian glass masters beyond the 3rd generation provide you with a unique cultural transition. Only 378 pieces produced in the world, inspired by the architecture of Europe, are presented to you with the centuries-old craftsmanship of our Anatolia and the scent of the magnificent flowers that grow in its unique soil.

Allaira Gold

Allaira Gold, whose starting point is Anatolia itself, presents to the world uniquely handcrafted gold jewellery, all of which are handcrafted by the gold masters of our homeland for generations. While the motifs that Anatolia has accumulated over the years with various cultures are being processed, a history comes to life in the hands of those who have been masters of gold for generations.
Gold jewelry, which is slowly embroidered with traditional Anatolian motifs and symbols, is more than just jewelry, it contains the spirits of all cultures it has hosted for centuries.


minyaturOttoman Book Arts


This art form was one of the most distinctive during the Ottoman era. Teams of artists used colored inks to produce detailed pictures that served as illustrations.





hatHat (Calligraphy)

In Islamic tradition, the creation of a human image was prohibited. This gave rise to one of the most beautiful calligraphic arts, in stark contrast to Christian traditions. Of the Ottoman arts, Calligraphy was the most important. Such mundane items as tax reports, property deeds and imperial edicts became exquisite works of art. This aptly reflects the bureaucratic nature of the empire, with its stress on writing and registering. Turkish calligraphers contributed to the development of new and more ornate styles of calligraphy. Each of the sultans had their own monogram in stylized script, called a Tugra. Sultan Ahmet III and Sultan Bayezit II were skilled calligraphers. Many of the greatest works were preserved in the extensive Ottoman archives and can be seen at Topkapi Palace and Ibrahim Pasha Museum (Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts).




ebruEbru (Paper Marbling)

Marbled paper or “Ebru” is an art form that was developed in Turkey in the fifteenth century. Mineral and vegetable dyes are sprinkled on water mixed with gum and the gall fluid of cattle, over which a sheet of paper is laid, creating unique and unrepeatable patterns. Traditionally, this paper was used for borders on Ottoman panels and miniatures, and for the inside covers and flyleaves of books. Today mass-produced marbled paper is used for such purposes, though the art of marbling continues. In 2014 Ebru art was inscribed in the UNESCO’s List of Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Colors made from plants were transferred from water to paper in this almost magical process, creating swirling, dream-like patterns. The earliest example of ebru art in Ottoman Turkey comes from the 16th century, but the current tradition dates back to the 19th century, and remains popular today.




tezhipTezhip (Illumination – Ornamental Gilding With Gold)

This ornate technique was used to decorate the texts of both religious and non-religious manuscripts or books, creating non-figurative, decorative designs that shone from the pages.

Cilt (Book Binding)

The skill that went into the difficult technique is proven by the many surviving examples that still exist today (lasting far longer than our modern day books ever could).

Other Classical Turkish Or Ottoman Arts Include

Keçe (Felt), Kaatı (the art of stenciling cut out designs into leather or paper) and Sedef (Mother Of Pearl).