I am going back to Turkey for a couple of weeks. And this time, not only going to buy my Sultanite stone, but also to buy a dream item from the Pasabahce glass collection.
I usually do not like recommending a specific store in Turkey unless it is unique. Whenever I go to Turkey, there is one place I always visit and buy a gift for my family and friends, and sometimes for myself. It is Pasabahce. Since its founding in 1934 with entirely handmade products, and its expanding into machine production in 1955, Pasabahce has been the symbol of high quality glass making.
Actually there are many Pasabahce stores in many cities in Turkey. These stores usually have two sections: one part is for great glass and ceramic products for your home ranging from beautiful wine glasses to plates to pitchers to vases. And I have plenty of them in my house. The other part of the store is exclusively reserved to display their museum collection and their special glass collection. They almost make sure that you stare at the display of hand crafted unique items for hours and hours with your mouth open and watering.
Years ago, in 1991, my love for Pasabahce’s unique collection started with my friends Necati and Ayla visiting us. They brought us a beautiful candy dish made by Pasabahce. The type of glassware for this candy dish is called “cesm-i bulbul”, meaning “nightingale’s eye”. I could not find any photograph of a real nightingale’s eye to see if there is any resemblance between them. But, nevertheless, the name sounds very romantic. And for me, this glass type is as exquisite as it can get.
According to the cultural historians, Sultan Selim III sent Mevlevi Dervish Mehmet Dede in 1795 to Venice to learn the glassmaking techniques. When Mehmet Dede returned to Istanbul, he opened a glass making shop in Beykoz, Istanbul. One of the techniques he learned and loved was the handblown glass created by the caneworking technique , better known as Filigrano glass which is still sold as a type of Morano glass. He created his own version of this technique which was later named “cesm-i bulbul”. The design is created by inserting colored glass rods into the molten glass, then twisting the rods to make the patterns. And this process is still being done by very skilled hands of glass masters. New York Times gives a short history of cesm-i bulbul.
The items in this store do not end with just the cesm-i bulbul collection.
What I really love are their traditional hand-blown glasses such as Cesm-i Bulbul, Beykoz Glass, and their “History, Culture and Glass Collection”.
Pasabahce’s History, Culture and Glass Collection reflects the history and the culture of Turkey and thousands of years of Anatolian civilizations. This highly valuable collection has reached to twelve categories with the introduction of Zevk-i Selim in 2013. Prior to the Zevk-i Selim Collection, Pasabahce introduced “Anatolian Civilizations”, “700 Year Ottoman History”, “Blue and White on Glass”, “Enameled Glass”, “Words of Art on Glass”, “Mosaic”, “7”, “Asure (Noah’s Pudding)”, “Istanbul”, “Crystalline Ceramics”, “Talking Anatolian Coins”, and “Kubadabad Selcuk Tiles”. Totally there are 382 limited edition pieces, all exclusively designed. About 143 pieces are no longer in production.
For the pictures of the entire collection please visit Pasabahce’s site.
Zevk-i Selim: Meaning utmost pleasure, it brings back the thousands of years of Anatolian craftsmanship in the form of elegant traditional handicrafts. In the opening speech during the introduction of this collection, Esra Tokel, the general manager of Pasabahce stores said: “Our limited collection consists of unique combinations of carved wood, stonemasonry, mother of pearl craft calligraphy, gilding and shadow play technique on glass pieces.”
Sedefkari pieces: Mother-of-pearl (Turkish: sedef) using a glaze technique on caramel colored glass decorated with gold gilding (picture from pasabahcemagazalari.com)
Anatolian Civilizations: Anatolia carries the history dating back to 8000 BCE and is the land of many civilizations including Hattians, Akkadians, Hittites, Assyrians, Lycians, Lydians, Phrygians, Urartians, Helens, Carians, Amazons, Romans, and Turks. The traces left by these civilizations still exist in all part of Anatolia. This collection celebrates these cultures with the magic world of glass.
700 Year Ottoman History: This collection reflects the 700 years of unique Ottoman art. The pieces reflect the reinterpretation of the Ottoman Art.
Firuze Lokumluk (Turquoise Turkish Delight server)
“7”: The number “7” is considered to be a magic number by many civilizations over thousands of years. (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/469565/The-magnificient-7-The-meaning-and-history-behind-the-world-s-favourite-number) . It symbolizes existence, completion, perfection, number of colors of the rainbow, seven heavens, seven virtues, seven deadly sins, and many more. This collection embraces the ideas, words, and works of art that reveal the secrets of life.
Asure (Noah’s Pudding): Asure (Noah’s Pudding) is a special dessert believed to be cooked on the last day of Noah’s Ark with all the remaining food supply. It symbolizes tolerance, unselfishness, gratitude, and coexistence which are essential for living in harmony. This collection celebrates the symbolism of Asure.
Talking Anatolian Coins: Coins are far more than a means of payment. They have their own voice and carry the records of thousands of years of human history reflecting their lives, beliefs, victories and heroes. This collection mirrors the evolution of money, starting from its birth in Anatolia. (more on this collection)
Please visit Pasabahce’s site regarding the rest of these magnificent collections: Istanbul,Kubadabad Selcuk Tiles, Blue and White on Glass, Enameled Glass, Words of Art on Glass, Mosaic, and Crystalline Ceramics.
Below are a few more samples of the Pasabahce collections.
Gilded Glass Collection: Ovgulu (“filled with praise”) candlestick: Patterns from an original glass candlestick dating back to 13th century and contains words of praise for the Shah or Sultan (more on this collection)