CULTURE

Exhibition on Canakkale pottery

Around the early 19th century, the thriving production of pottery in the historic city of Dardanellia right at the entrance of the Hellespont recoined the city Canakkale, which in Turkish means a castle of pots. The ceramics produced at Canakkale did not have the refinement of the famous Iznik or Cioutacheia ceramics, both of which were associated with the court of the sultan, but their mass production, exportation and utilitarian purpose made them well known in the broader region of the eastern Mediterranean, reaching even to western Europe. In the late 19th century, Canakkale ceramics became more decorative. Original jugs with bird-like shapes and an unusual application of color and glazing became distinctive to the Canakkale style. A broad selection of Canakkale pottery is presented at «Canakkale, Castle of the Pots,» a temporary exhibition at the Museum of Traditional Pottery drawn from the permanent collection of the museum, one of the most comprehensive collections of Canakkale pottery in Greece. The earliest Canakkale pottery dates from the late 17th or early 18th century. The so-called tsanakia were dishes, bowls or small jars decorated with floral motifs in blue or purplish brown colors on a white slip. During the 19th century, Canakkale pottery was typified by a large variety of shapes and decorative motifs. Colored glazes in brown, green and yellow were introduced and so were multicolored glazes that look like dabs of color or mottled decoration. A combination of green and light brown is the most typical. Gradually, Canakkale pottery became even more decorative. Slightly kitsch by present standards, late Canakkale ceramicware takes the form of boats, human or animal shapes and are heavily colored and decorated with relief ornaments added to the body of the main jug. The horse-headed jugs, basket-weave trays or boat-shaped lamps, all represented at the exhibition, express this extravagant style. All this thriving production was interrupted beginning in the early 20th century. With the Asia Minor disaster the activity of the Canakkale workshops declined, and many craftsmen fled to Greece where they set up new workshops and helped disseminate the style. Since then, the Canakkale style of ceramics can be detected in the ceramicware produced in different areas in Greece. «Canakkale, Castle of the Pots,» at the Museum of Traditional Pottery (4-6 Melidoni, 210.331.8491) throughout 2005.