Saturday, 24 July 2010

Armenian Ceramics

Here in Israel the choice in porcelain and china is not very large. New porcelain in stores is 99% made in China. There is no choice whatsoever in new English, French, German or American porcelain. English and German porcelain and ironstone etc can be found sometimes at fleamarkets, but usually for high prices. Common (not antique) transferware plates for example go for 5-10 dollars or more a piece. Milkglass is VERY rare here. What is being sold widely in Israel however are the beautiful so called Armenian ceramics.

Click here at Google for example for the variety in these Armenian Ceramics.
Whenever I have the chance I always go for the blue white patterns. None of these dishes are alike, there is always a slight difference in the handpainted decorations. They sell here for very reasonable prices too. A large salad bowl is 30 shekels (7-8 dollars), a smaller saladbowl is 20 shekels (5 dollars), cereal bowls are 10-18 shekels, different sizes and shapes (around 3-4 dollars) and mugs for as little as 10 shekels (3 dollars). Below my latest additions. Aren't they beautiful?

Read here about Armenian ceramic makers, the Karakshian family in Jerusalem:
The clays used by the Karakashian brothers are brought from Hebron and the Negev desert and are mixed in a specific proportion. This mixture is especially strong and free from glazing and firing defects. All the decoration is done by hand.
Today, the pieces are fired in electric kilns which give better results than the earlier wood and oil fired kilns. The colors are still mixed according to the same recipes that their father used fifty years ago. The colors are obtained from metallic oxides; the rich dark blue, which is greatly admired, is made from cobalt oxide. The light blue, green and brown colors are made from copper, chromium and iron oxides.
What is Armenian ceramics, pottery and tile?
by Hagop Karakashian
Armenian ceramics, pottery and tile, is a style of hand painted pottery and ceramic tile making, founded in Jerusalem in the early twentieth century by three Armenian families – Ohanessian, Karakashian and Balian.
Although Armenian ceramics has its roots in Ottoman Turkey, this unique art form was established in Jerusalem when in 1919 the British government invited a group of Armenian craftsmen (master potters and tile makers) from Kutahya, Turkey, to renovate the exterior ceramic tiles of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
The ceramic tiles covering the dome needed to be replaced, and these craftsmen came to Jerusalem , set up a workshop and planned the design and renovation of the tiles. For various reasons, the project never came to fruition, but the craftsmen preferred to stay on in Jerusalem rather than go back to Turkey. Karakashian and Balian opened their joint workshop and produced their hand painted tiles and pottery for the general public.
Kutahya, a city south east of Istanbul, was a center for making ceramic tiles and pottery since the 1400’s. There was a sizeable Armenian population there, and many worked and learned the art in the potteries of Kutahya. Iznik was the more important and prestigious of the two ceramic producing cities. Beautiful Iznik wares survive today in private collections and famous museums.

Did Armenian ceramics originate in Armenia ?

Many people wrongly assume that Armenian ceramics originated in Armenia. The art of Armenian pottery and tile making has its roots in Ottoman Turkey, where Armenian craftsmen worked in the potteries of Iznik and Kutahya for centuries, up to the 1 st world war, and made their contribution to the art. In Armenia itself, there was no similar tradition of pottery and tile making. Turkish Armenians however were involved in the process for centuries.
Today, in the cathedral of Saint James in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem, Kutahya tiles can be seen adorning the walls of a small chapel. These Kutahya tiles date from the 18th century and depict biblical scenes, hand painted with beautiful colors. Some have Armenian writing describing the scenes. These tiles were brought by Armenian pilgrims coming from Turkey to visit the Holy land, and presented them as gifts to the church.
Of the original Armenian families who came from Turkey to do tile work for the Dome of the Rock, only two remain who continue this centuries old tradition of making Armenian pottery. They are the Karakashians and Balians, who work and produce their art in Jerusalem.
Read the full article by Hagop Karakashian here!

Here is a 3D model I made for Bryce 4 :). I will revamp it for Bryce 7 and Poser perhaps and reupload the zip download in a couple of days.

1 comment:

trisha too said...

These are beautiful--the blues are GORGEOUS. We have so many different ceramics here in the USA to choose from, but I've never seen any quite like these!