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Writer: Mehmet Yuğuran
August 2009

During the centuries in Anatolia among the chests, hope chests have a special place. In the past as a daughter was given birth, the precious handmade dower has been starting to kept in the chests.  As the dower the chests have been a reflection of the wealth of the girl's family. The rich families were using embroidered and engraved chests made of walnut  where as the middle class families were using chests made of poplar, polished and decorated with mirrors and colorful bird illustrations. The most expensive chests are the ones made of cedar tree because these are furniture beetle proof. The chests whose inner side were covered by cloth or by patterned paper has different locking systems; for some of them a bell was ringing as the cover opened. These bells were having kind of an alarm duty.
The decoration of the chests reflects the art of Turkish handicrafts and each of them is an art piece of a master who has learned the decoration work by spending many years and efforts. The most of the chests which have embroidered flower motives moreover gold and silver decorations due to the wealth of its owner are piece of art.
The hope chests, most of the times heirs from mother to daughter, were having a special meaning for the young girls. The young girls were keeping their personal secrets such as their letters, photos, poems, memorial objects, etc in their chests and no one was allowed to open them. The hope chests, brought to husbands' house, were kept by them to pass to their own daughters. Sometimes the inner side of the chests' cover were being used as a notebook. The purpose was to transfer the information to the next generation therefore date of birth of the children, date of death of parents, sometimes date of marriage and date of leaving for military service can  be seen inside the cover of the chests.

The Chests of Cappadocia
The chests found in the region have a variety such as ornamented with brasses, embroidered, tin and leather covering but the most common ones are ornamented with brasses and the embroidered ones. The ornamented with brasses chests have motives by nailing on wedges around tin cuttings with mostly church or mosque dome shapes.  The wood embroidered ones have the shapes symbolizes fertility such as life tree, eye, double eye, amulet, seven mountain flower as well as shapes symbolizes next generation such as trees with flowers and fruits and shapes symbolizes long life such as cypress or poplar trees, rose, daisy and clove flowers.  Sometimes as religious themes, the usage of moon, star, mosque, rose, minaret and dome shapes can be seen. In addition non Muslims were using church, cross, Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and Saint motives. The careful examinations showed us that the usage of green color, holy color for Islam, was being used for the paintings. First the chests were being painted white, acquired by a lime mixture. This mixture was used to protect the wood from the external factors especially from the furniture beetles.  And then the color green called madder and ocher was being painted. Unfortunately during the recent years the hope chest tradition tend to be forgotten.

Note: For this article the 50 pieces chest collection of Mehmet Yuğuran was photo and the most characterized ones were selected to be used. For more photos you may visit the website of Mehmet Yuğuran: www.antikite.com

Note: This article has been published in Peribacası Cappadocia Culture and Publicity Magazine, August 2009 issue. It is under protection of the copyrights of the magazine. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by electronic, mechanical or other means without prior permission from the owner. www.cappadociaexplorer.com



Reading Reading: 2643 Eklenme Tarihi Date: 2010-01-06
Hunchback chest-130 years old
Hunchback chest-130 years old
Chest with eye motive-80 years old
Chest with eye motive-80 years old
Chest with life tree motive-150 years old
Chest with life tree motive-150 years old
Green Chest with life tree motive-100 years old
Green Chest with life tree motive-100 years old

Chest of head scarf-50 years old
Chest of head scarf-50 years old
Chest with Virgin Mary motive-1917
Chest with Virgin Mary motive-1917
Chest flap-100 years old
Chest flap-100 years old
Chest flap-120 years old
Chest flap-120 years old
Chest flap-120 years old
Chest flap-120 years old

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