Glass is a raw material used in the production of many objects from ancient times to the present. Glass processing, on the other hand, is a handicraft besides its industrial side. Glass products, which have been produced as articles of use for centuries, have existed as a branch of art supported by rulers and administrators in all over the world until the 19th century. Technical developments in glass production, processing, and changes in taste have determined the historical development of glasswork as a creative art branch.
Turkey has a worldwide reputation for glass art. Glass art has a great place in Turkish history. Glassworks belonging to the Seljuk and Artukid periods were found during the excavations. In the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul became the center of glass art supported by the state. Glasswork has become an industry in itself in the hands of the Ottomans. The oldest documents on Turkish glasswork date back to the 16th century. The accounting books kept during the construction of the Süleymaniye Mosque and its complex provide us with important information about the construction orders and decrees, glass masters, and their work.
The Ottoman and Seljuk periods can be described as the periods when traditional glass products were made. You can see architectural or decoration works from the Seljuk and Artukids periods in museums.
Glass art has progressed considerably in the Ottoman Period. Ottoman glass industry developed in Istanbul. There were different glass workshops in Eyüp, Balat, Ayvansaray, Bakırköy, Beykoz, Paşabahçe, Çubuklu and İncirköy. With the declaration of the Republic, the Turkish glass industry has gained a new direction. Especially Paşabahçe gathered many glass masters and became an important glass-making center. Traditional Turkish glass products are Çeşm-i Bülbül, Turkish watermark, and Beykoz Ware.
The glasses made in the 1600s in the Ottoman Empire were food storage containers, kitchen utensils, bottles, and jars used in daily life. Besides, the glass lamps used in the circumcision festivals to illuminate the mosques during Eid and the month of Ramadan.
Çeşm-i Bülbül, one of the most popular glassware, was produced in Çubuklu. It is obtained by fusing a strip of glass and a strip of ceramic-based material in low-temperature furnaces for a long time. They differ from their counterparts produced in Europe with their wide stripes, shapes suitable for Turkish taste, and unique features. Kerosene lamps, tulip vases, rose water bottles, cup bowls, sugar bowls, stained glass boards, carats, goblets, and other kitchen utensils are produced using the Çeşm-i Bülbül technique.