Designs, the result of prevailing environmental conditions, are the cultural language and source of art. These symbolic designs reveal the characteristics of a society in social research.
The Turks continued to live in clans and tribes after migrating to Anatolia. After a long period of different beliefs, they finally turned to Islam but the heritage of the old beliefs, legends and myths are still alive and can be seen in various symbols that are used in the decorative arts today.
Design is the main component of ornamentation. In Anatolia, designs are known by different names, such as motif, im, yanis and nakis.
Different designs exist in all branches of traditional arts depending on the place, purpose of use or message contained. These may be vegetal (trees, flowers, fruits etc.), animal (birds, butterflies, horses, wild animals, snakes, scorpions etc.), objects (for daily use), figures (inspired from daily life etc.).
Colouring is one of the oldest arts, the history of obtaining dyes from natural sources going back thousands of years.
It is true that human beings respect and admire the colours that exist in nature. The relations between man and plants are a very old one. Early man not only used plants to feed himself, but also used leaves as a covering.
People realized the impossibility of coloring textiles with undissolved substances, and so used the root, body and leaves of plants. Besides plants, some dyes were also obtained from animals.
In Anatolia during the Ottoman period, coloring materials were exported until the 19th century, although the invention of synthetic dyes had a severe impact. Today, a few educational institutions in some regions are trying to keep the tradition of natural dyes alive.
People have considerable knowledge of natural dyes in some regions of Anatolia, especially those where rugs and carpets are produced. Families involved in rug-making keep such information on dyes a closely guarded secret.
The material “mordan” is used to prepare the object for coloring and help the object mainatin its colour. Aborvitae is the most commonly used kind of mordan in Turkey. Studies have shown that, red, green and yellow have historically been the most widely used colors.