Çini is the Turkish traditional art of painted ceramics . The designs, representing local Turkish customs and beliefs, are drilled on paper, transferred to the surface with contours hand drawn, then the work dyed, glazed and fired. Practiced formally and informally in traditional workshops, public education centres, universities and in the home, çini making is considered an outlet for self-expression, development, healing and a symbolic aspect of Turkey’s cultural identity. Passion, patience, love and creativity is at the very heart of this ancient form of art.
The art of Turkish tile and ceramic-making developed over the centuries incorporating many different techniques and styles. Enriched by the arrival of the Seljuks, the ceramic industry in Anatolia achieved a deservedly worldwide reputation with the support of the Ottoman court. The art of Çini has thus over the years become symbolic of Turkish art and culture and is an integral part of much of historic Turkish architecture. Despite its historical significance, the art of Çini is one that few skillfully practice. Today, Kütahya has been revived as an important center of tile and ceramic-making. In addition, efforts are also being made in private workshops and educational institutions in Iznik, Istanbul, and Bursa to keep the art of traditional Turkish tiles and ceramics alive and develop it so that it can address the demands of modern-day life. In this art of mosaic tiles, the most commonly used colors are cobalt, shades of blue, green tones, purple and coral red. With Çini in which only certain colors are used, each color has a special meaning. For instance, the color blue expresses eternity, freedom and immortality. The colors and motifs used by artists who paint with sable and bristle brushes generally differ from each other.