Çeşm-i Bülbül, Beykoz Work, Glass in Beykoz
The capital of the Ottoman State is also the capital of glassworking. Glassmaking was an important industry and craft in Ottoman lands in the 15th century. Especially the glass craftsmanship in the Topkapı Palace is striking for its size. In these years the glass production was based on casting and blowing. Production rose in the 16th century, the market grew and the Turkish glassworks were offered up on the international market. The masters of the era weren’t uninterested in the developing glass industry of the time, the windows of religious, social and public buildings were adorned with thin and colorful, artistically strong glasses manufactured with the blowing technique.
The center of glassmaking in the Ottoman era was generally Eğrikapı, Eyüp, Balat, Ayvansaray, Bakırköy, Beykoz, Paşabahçe, Çubuklu and İncirköy. Glassmaking workshops are public buildings and belong to the Sultan. The craftsmen who use the glass workshops pay rent. Glassmaking is not allowed outside these workshops set aside in a monopoly in the Empire.
“Camgeran” was the name given to the glass craftsmen during this era, while glassmakers were being organized. Camgerans are defined as “masters of art”, and they are subject to the Topkapı Palace. The grand masters of the camgerans were called “Sercamger”. The system in the Ottoman Court gathers the competent artizans together and supports them. The organization is based on the master-apprentice relationship.
Traditional Turkish glassmaking successfully reaches the 17th and 18th centuries. In the time of Sultan Mahmud I., glassmakers were invited from France, and in the reign of Sultan Selim II., a Mawlawi called Mehmet Dede was sent to Italy to improve his craft, and he practiced his craft in Beykoz upon his return. European masters worked in this workshop. The facility built by this Mawlawi master produced many successful examples. These unique pieces were called “Beykoz Job” in time. Çeşm-i Bülbül has a special place among the Beykoz Jobs adorned with traditional Ottoman motifs. These watermarked glasses reflect the Ottoman taste and artistic approach. There are even glass workshops in the historical records with names like “Beykoz Job and Çeşm-i Bülbül Factory”. These factories established by Bursa Governor Mustafa Nuri Pasha, are located on the Sultan Mustafa Foundation’s lands in İncirköy and Çubuklu. Later, the factories are handed over to the state upon Nuri Pasha’s request and become part of the State Treasury. The Minister of Treasury, Tahir Pasha becomes their administrator. Apart from Mehmet Dede and Tahir Pasha, an Ottoman Jew called Saul Modiano also established a glass factory in Beykoz. Fabrica Vetrami di D. Modiano, was established in Paşabahçe in 1899. This establishment was subject to special interest by Sultan Abdulhamid II. and employed 500 workers in 1902. The factory that was built upon the Tekel Factory’s land in Paşabahçe closed down in 1920. This void in the glassmaking adventure of Beykoz was filled in a short time after the Republic was founded. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk continues the tradition and the first glass factory of the Republic is established in Paşabahçe in 1934. First mass production starts on July 29, 1935. It continues until August 6, 2002. Paşabahçe glass factory also provided work for about three thousand small workshops around it, and raised thousands of glass masters. Only 22 workshops are still active in Beykoz today, and one of them is the Glass Furnace Foundation. The Foundation tries to continue the ancient tradition, to transform its activities to education on the large land where the old Paşabahçe Crystal Factory ws built near the Riva River in the Öğümce Village. Every year, thousands of elementary and secondary school students witness the shaping of glass in hot glass workshops. Apart from the 22 workshops, the support of the Beykoz Municipality and the Istanbul Development Agency, Glass Art Centers were established in Polonezköy, Anadolu Kavağı and Riva. Masters transmit the ancient tradition to the future generations in these centers.