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The Production Process

There are 4 techniques for copper pot production; casting, hammering, plating and pressing. The ancient and time-consuming technique of hammering has been used for hundreds of years in Gaziantep, Adıyaman and Kilis, and is still in use today. The most important characteristic of copperwork in the region is the production of pieces from a single sheet of copper, without the need for soldering, welding or any other metal-joining methods. The piece is created as a whole, so there is no risk of breakage. Copperware from this region is much stronger and more durable than other soldered or welded copper pieces.
First the copper is heated on a fire to enable it to be worked more easily, then the coppersmith determines the outline of the piece to be made, and hammers the soft copper into shape. With each bang of the hammer, as the copper is shaped, a decorative pattern emerges.

The craftsmen of Gaziantep have become experts in the intricate decoration of their copperware. Once a product has been shaped, the decorative pattern is created using a hammer and steel chisel. This stage can take days or even weeks to complete, depending on the desired product. The decorative patterns which are unique to Gaziantep copperware are worked like embroidery. The skilled craftsmen take their inspiration from everything around them, but they predominantly utilise motifs from the Seljuk, Ottoman, and even Hittite periods.

In Gaziantep coppersmithing, botanical motifs are the most common form of decoration. Motifs such as the pomegranate branch, twisted branch, cypress, leaf, tulip, flower, and vine are used on their own or in combination. The most common animal motif used in Gaziantep copperware is the bird figure, often seen in Islamic art, while fish motifs are occasionally used in geometric designs. This fascinating decorative work requires a great amount of care, patience, and in particular, experience.
The secret of the famous Adıyaman çiğköfte (raw meat patty) lies in the fact that the ingredients are kneaded in a copper bowl. Bowls made from other materials leave a metallic taste, while the copper bowl actually enhances the taste of the patties.
Tools used in the art of coppersmithing include hammers of varying size, anvils, mallets, chisels, and shears. Tinsmiths provide the shine for the copper products to prepare them for everyday use, especially in the kitchen. As the final stage in the copper production process, the tinsmiths share a common fate with their fellow craftsmen.

To reduce environmental and noise pollution, the coppersmiths‘ workshops were grouped together in one area known as the coppersmiths‘ market. Today, this lively and colourful commercial hub gives us a snapshot of the past.

 

The contents of this publication, which has been funded through the 2010 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency, does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. The Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce is the sole bearer of responsibility for the contents.