Turkish arts derive from the early cultural milieus of Central Asia, from whence the Turkish tribes migrated beginning in the 8th century AD, and the Middle East particularly Anatolia, where those tribes settled. Since the 9th century the esthetic has also been strongly informed by Islam. While each of these artistic elements deserves and in-depth study, the following paragraphs give a brief survey of the subject.
Central Asia, the Far East.
The common heritage of Turkish and Far Eastern Arts can be recognized for instance in motifs used in all media. Objects dating from the Bronze Age (c. 3000 BC) that were found near the Yenisey River area near Lake Baikal in Siberia have stylized animal figures that carry through into the Ottoman rumi designs. (Rumi is the design that evolved from drawings of animals and developed into interwining curves and scrools that look live sweet peas; it was often worked into arabesques.) Other Eastern symbolic patterns commonly found in Turkish art included the Chinese dragons (çintamani in Turkish) which are two parallel wavy lines (duality) and three beads, the tree of life and the vine loaded with grapes (symbols of longevity and fertility, also found in Greek art), stylized flowers (hatayi), and yin-yang (the Chinese female-male duality). The Turkish adaptation of yin-yang at times appears as swaying cypress trees. Çintamani appears as a talisman; the hatayi blossom is a lotus in profile.
A second art form that probably entered Turkey from the Far East is the shadow theater. While it seems to have originated in Java, China and India, it came to Turkey via Egypt in the early 16th century. The Turkish shadow theater takes its name from the main character, Karagöz.
Middle East, Anatolia.
A mixturen of Hittite, Hellenistic, and oriental motifs (eagles, deer, griffins, crescent moons) were used in the arabesques of Selçuk artists in Iran in the 11th to 13th centuries. Although by then they were Muslim artists, the Selçuks were not loath to use reliefs of animals and birds in their stonework, nor did they hestitate to represent the human figure, often in hunting scenes. This continued in the ceramic and textile arts of the 11th to 14th century Selçuk capital, Konya. While the Hittites had used embroidery in their costumes in the 2nd millenium BC. the art of applique which was developed in Cental Asia was apparently carried on the Turkmen tents into Anatolia and the West in the 14th century AD.
Cultural exchanges between the resident Anatolians and the newcomers occurred in other media also. In the 10th century the Selçuks brought with them the knowledge of knotted pile rugs. They and their relatives the Ottomans found and developed in Turkey the knowledge of how to cover a large rectangular room with a domed ceiling. The Turks took over the local folk heroes and gave them a Turkish character in their legends and songs.
Even beyond these cultural influences, a quality that must be recognizedd in understanding Turkish art is that…..