Book of Jewelry and Armenian Jewelers during the Ottoman Period

Book of Jewelry and Armenian Jewelers during the Ottoman Period

Jewelry and Armenian Jewelers during the Ottoman Period contains 2,500 photographs, documents and visual material (pictures and drawings of jewels, stamps and signatures of jewelers). The book which also encompasses lists of jewelers compiled from a number of different records both in Turkish and Armenian is a valuable source of reference.

Jewels considered for ages as the symbols of splendor and wealth cannot be easily conceived as the product of history and of concrete human effort. Yet those valuable gems which after being extracted from dust and dirt turn into jewels in skilled hands make a long journey before landing in a palace or in a mansion.

Jewelry and Armenian Jewelers during the Ottoman Period prepared by Arsen Yarman and published by Yapı Kredi Yayınları enlightens, thanks to the long period (14th-20th centuries) it covers and the richness of the archives and sources it uses the path precious matters like diamonds and gold found in dust and dirt cross after being handled by bankers and jewelers before ending up in the mansions of the wealthy.

The book which discusses jewelry and jewel-making in a historical context, integrates Ottoman archival documents with visual material within the same framework. The study thus enables the reader to follow, through archival records, the important role Armenians played in the formation of a jewelery-making style proper to the Ottomans and deals with the implementation of the art of jewelery-making in its details.

Yarman who emphasizes the arduous course for the preparation of his book, explains: “In this book, we tried to study such matters as where the gems came from, where they were processed, where and by whom they were designed, who implemented these designs, who in the palace and beyond wore these jewels thus created.

Suleyman the Magnificent and Armenian Artisans

Yarman points to the contribution of the personal interest shown by sultans like Selim I and Suleyman I for the development of Ottoman jewellery-making and indicates that during his Irak campaign Suleyman the Magnificent brought numerous Armenian artisans from Van and surrounding cities to Istanbul. “Khoja Mercan” who during the said period worked for the Community of Palace Craftsmen (Ehl-i Hiref-i Hâssa), the Armenian jeweler “Yonoz (?) bin Tanrıvirmiş” whose name appears in the Istanbul Cadi Registers under Suleyman I, the jeweler Maksud Ali who submitted holiday presents to the same sultan, jewelers like Mircan and Murad point to the presence of Armenian jewelers in the early Ottoman jewelry-making. Although not stating an exact date, Evliya Çelebi mentions the Armenian Bedros among the most valuable masters within the artisan jewelers and goldsmiths (“Esnâf-ı Zergerân-ı Cevahirciyân”), thus pointing to the same presence in the later periods. Armenian jewelers would gradually become more active under the later sultans and create, as shown by the numerous examples in the book, a comprehensive array of products ranging from ornaments to items of daily use such as aigrettes, chaplets, crowns, quivers, brooches, belts, bracelets, rings, hand fans, harnesses, orders and decorations, medals, rosewater flasks, censers, chandeliers, sugar bowls, coffee cup holders, staffs, mirror frames, cigarette cases and cradles.

Kapalıçarşı (Covered Bazaar)

In his book, Arsen Yarman does not forget venues like Kapalıçarşı, which during the Ottoman period were important both for carrying out this craft and for the exhibition and sale of the created items. Besides information on both the architectural integrity of the structure and the ateliers and shops operating there, the book also contains details about the rules governing the artisan guilds.

The Duzian family (Düzoğulları) 

The Duzians, one of the most important families of Armenian jewelry-making during the Ottoman period occupy a prominent place in the book. The Duzians shine out both with their effectiveness within the Imperial Mint (Darphane-i Amire), as with the work they perform for the Ottoman palace, starting with the reign of Ahmed III. Active in the commerce of precious stones besides their work on jewelry, and thanks to their craftsmanship and their familiarity with foreign styles of jewel-making, the family had either crafted a large number of presents commissioned by Ottoman sultans for foreign dignitaries, or supervised the production of such pieces. The jeweled aigrettes and enameled boxes with the sultan’s tughra Abdürrahim Muhib Effendi presented to Napoléon; the neckband crafted for the French Empress Eugénie; the bejeweled rapiers and swords presented to George III, king of England and his sons; the presents to Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert; the jewel aigrette Selim III sent to the Russian Tzar; the Mecidi Order Abdülmecid sent to Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria-Hungary and the brilliant neckband for his wife, the Empress Elisabeth; the bejeweled case given to Napoléon Bonaparte’s ambassador Horace Sebastiani; the bejeweled decorations given to the Russian ambassador; the bejeweled staff, aigrette and golden scimitar sent to the Ruler of Morocco and the sovereign of Spain are some of the items crafted by the Duzian family.

Clock and Jewel-making under the Ottomans (Babaian, Kapamadjian, Nishastadjian, Arabian)

Yarman underlines that jewelry-making is not limited to only ornaments and adornments, but that it is also used to give items of various fields of daily life a more special identity and value, and presents detailed information concerning clocks and arms decorated with jewels. On the comprehensive field of jewelry, and especially in parallel with the growing cultural-artistic relations established with the West, renowned master craftsmen of the period like the Babaians, Kapamadjians, Nishastadjians, Arabians etc. created the brightest examples of the developing Ottoman clockmaking. Levon Mazloumian, one of the important figures of the late Ottoman and early Republic periods is a prominent craftsman, especially in the field of fixed table clocks. The most remarkable work among the creations of this versatile and sophisticated jeweler whose work extends to the 20th century and beyond the proclamation of the Republic, is a monumental tablet - Mazloumian would complete it in seven months - commissioned by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) to be presented to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the occasion of the Alphabet Reform and the adoption of Roman characters.
Adorning weapons with various jewels and precious stones is a field where craftsmen have been active since the very early days. In the book which contains very detailed information on this subject, the rifle Hovhannes Agha Duzian adorned with jewels for Mahmud I and the bejeweled swords crafted by Sarkis Ajemian (Acemoğlu), whose creations are exhibited in various world museums are especially remarkable.

Benzer Haberler & Reklamlar