Soul Blown Into Glass

Written by TR Dergisi

The art of glass, fragile as life and transparent as soul, opens its doors to a radiant, elegant life.

Silicon dioxide material used in glass making, is transformed into glass after going through various processes. The glass, first melted and then shaped with wet tools, comes out of the furnace like a piece of lava. Later, whether decorative or practical, all glass works are transformed and animated in the hands of its master. It is rough at first, then it enters the furnace, cooked in fire like a cinder, and then it burns… This fire is only extinguished as the glass rotates around itself as a whirling dervish. The glass rotates, begins to cool down and mature. Gaining a certain form, it starts getting refined through burning, just like our raw souls which come into this world. Not every soul is the same so we cannot expect the souls blown into glass to be the same. Information about glass art, with a history dating back to the Ottoman period, is provided in the manuscript titled  Surname-i Hümayun which also features miniatures. Attempts to establish a glass industry in the Ottoman Empire, initiated in the periods of Mustafa III and Selim III, led to opening of many glass workshops in various districts of Istanbul. In the period of Sultan Abdulmejid, a large workshop was established in Paşabahçe, which became the centre of glass art.


Mevlevi Mehmet Dede, sent to Venice by Selim III to learn glass making techniques, introduced a new technique to glasswork. Çeşm-i Bülbül (Nightingale’s Eye) works are made by inserting half-ceramic and half-glass bars which are painted afterwards, and are inspired by the colours and shapes in nightingales’ eyes. Çeşm-i bülbül, in fact, means “nightingale’s eye”. The sticks inserted in glass gradually form a spiral with rotation of the glass and merge at the bottom of the object. A form resembling an eye emerges at this point.



“The most refined gift of nature to the history of humanity, is undoubtedly glass. Glass art with a long history, has a significant place in our traditional arts. Since the Ottoman era, glass has come with numerous motifs and patterns meeting with fire in the hands of skilful masters. Today, many artists give life to glass using cutting, gilding, blowing and sanding techniques, combining modern with tradition.”

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TR Dergisi

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