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What is defined as engraving today are the trimmings which kalemkâr (engraving artist) from the nakkaşhane community (engraving shops) used to make on materials like wood, metal, stone, plaster, cloth, leather and render with colourful dyes as embosses on the interior of architectural works of art with the aim of making them more beautiful.

Engraving is known with different names depending on the various types of materials and application techniques.

- Over plaster engraving (Üsküdar Atık Ana Mosque, Eminönü The New Mosque, Üsküdar Aziz Mahmut Hüdayi Mosque and Tomb, Sultan Ahmed Mosque)

- Over wood engraving (Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Kasımpaşa Piyale Paşa Mosque, Topkapı Takkeci Mosque)

- Over stone-marble and over marble engraving (Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Mosque)

- Over leather-cloth engraving (Yıldız Palace the interior sections of the handmaidens’ room are an example of this technique applied on walls)

- Malakari (Eminönü The New Mosque)

Over wood painting technique is seen on column headings, consoles and beams of the mosque group of the Seljuk and Beylik Periods, which is especially referred to as the group of wooden mosques. Later, this technique was also used in the mosques of the Ottoman Period. 

Technically, before an engraving is drawn on to scratch paper, decisions are made as to which picture will be applied where according to the nature of the area designated for engraving. Thus, a project is prepared, drawn and coloured. Patterns drawn on scratch paper are pinned on a soft surface, thus creating a mould of the pattern. Then, specifically prepared coal dust is spread on the scratch paper and the pattern is transferred to the surface designated for the embroidery. This process is still performed in the manner described in the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries. In colouring, various brushes, earth or oxidized dyes are used. 

The technique of over wood engraving is slightly different. First of all, timbers which are resistant to insects and moisture are chosen. The paint is prepared in a special manner. The motifs are embossed and their tops are covered with gold leaves. 

It is referred to as ‘Edirnekari’ when applied over wood in embossed form and as ‘Malakari’ when applied over plaster rendering in embossed form. 

One of the most beautiful examples of Edirnekari is Yemiş (dessert) room of Ahmet III in Topkapı Palace. Müezzin Mahvil in Selimiye Mosque is the most beautiful example applied with classic patterns of Edirnekari. 

The service life of any engraving depends on the life of its surface of application.



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