Ottoman Social Media: The Coffeehouses

Posted on November 07 2019

Ottoman Social Media: The Coffeehouses
Last week we visited the 16th Istanbul Biennial. Biennial took place at Pera Museum.
The part about the awesome culture of coffee got our attention. Let us tell you more about it.
Ottoman men and women drinking coffee
"The kahvehane, or coffeehouse, reshaped the perception of traditional space and social roles in the Ottoman Empire. The first examples of coffeehouses emerged in the early 16th century in Mecca, Cairo, and Damascus, finally arriving in Istanbul mid-century. 

Soon becoming popular sites of coffee sale and consumption, coffeehouses evolved into important social venues bringing together people of diverse backgrounds.  

Springing up all around the city, coffeehouses on the triangle of home, market, and mosque in the 16th century, offering an important alternative to these places. 

Although dominantly male in character, the coffeehouse, women took the opportunity to convene in their houses, even as men carried private habit to public space. 

behind the ceramics there is the image of the old Ottoman woman

Initially regarded merely as innovation and dominated by men of all social backgrounds, these venues soon became centers meeting the economic, social, and cultural needs of society.  

Social events, politics, and the economy were debated here: as their political significance escalated, coffeehouses drew the attention of political authority, which occasionally sought to ban them, perceiving them as a threat to the status quo.  

Coffeehouses thus evolved along with the social changes taking place in the process of Westernization and, over time, were replaced by their western counterparts both in terms of traditional style and content."

In such a history of astonishing coffee, we also want to point out the glasses, ceramics, and tiles.

Coffee Break 

The Adventure of Coffee in Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics 

old ceramics on the table

1.Ewer: Second half of the 18th century

2. Sugar Pot Late 18th century

3.Rosewater Sprinkler: Late 19th- early 20th century

4. Coffee Jug second half of the 19th century

5.Pitcher: First half of the 20th century

"Discovered in Ethiopia as the “magic” fruit” and reaching the land of the Ottomans through Yemen in the 15th century, coffee soon assumed its place as a prestigious beverage in the place and wealthy households. Over time, coffee not only generated its own rituals and ceremonies but also played an instrumental role in the development of social life.  

As the second most important center of ceramic production after İznik during the Ottoman era, Kütahya witnessed intensive ceramic production in the Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods and has upheld this art from to date with traditional methods.  

Ceramics coffee jugs

Having reached its zenith in the 17th and 18th centuries in terms of creativity, the ensuing years witnessed a decline in the variety and production rate of Kütahya tiles and ceramics.  

It was once again revived in the late 19th century and standing somewhere between İznik and Çanakkale ceramics as “urban art” became an integral part of the Ottoman art mosaic with its broad product range and continuity. 

Ceramic Production as Shaped by Coffee Consumption 

As coffee consumption became widespread, objects of coffee rituals, particularly the cups –inspired by Chinese porcelains- were produced in larger quantities.

While it is known that limited coffee cup production existed in 6th century İznik, here is no evidence of it in Kütahya prior to the 17th century.

Coffee cup production gained momentum in Kütahya in the 17th century and was taken over entirely by Kütahya workshops in the 18th century.

ceramics coffee jugs

Embellished with floral motifs and abstract figures, this product range was expanded through the addition of saucers and cup sleeves.

Initially made of ceramic and attached to the cup, the cup sleeve is inherent to Ottoman culture: the saucer, on the other hand, is quite possibly adopted from the West.

Used in the preparation, service, consumption, and preservation of coffee, other items such as coffee mill, coffee skillet, coffee cooler, cezve (coffee pot with a long handle), ewer, and coffee jug complement the coffee ceremony


Ottoman Agreement

In 1766, when cup production flourished in Kütahya, a detailed agreement was signed by cup masters residing in Kütahya. It is recognized as the first collective agreement in the Ottoman era"

Source: Pera Museum

Here is our ceramics suggestions for you: Aphrodite Cup and Sand Cup!

Aphrodite Handmade Ceramic Cup

Click to shop Aphrodite Handmade Ceramic Cup

The Aphrodite cups are thinned by hand and glazed with a brush. One Ceramic crafts ceramic products almost as thin as a porcelain fineness. Since the topsides of these cups are thinner, the drinking experience is more pleasant than other ceramic cups.

Sand Hand Carved Ceramic Cup

Click to shop Sand Handmade Ceramic Cup

Handcrafted ceramic cups to fill your coffee. Sand cups have their unique speckled gray color. The variations in shape and color adds individuality and character to each piece. They are handcrafted in Istanbul by Wagavon.


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