In addition to being the most important field of art in Kütahya, tile making is also an important source of income for its people. Ceramic making began with the Hittites in Kütahya and developed consistently until the end of Ottoman era. Ceramic art in Kütahya started with red clay in the last half of the 14th century; the motifs and colours resembled Iznik tiles at that time. In these first samples, cobalt blue, manganese purple, turquoise and black shades were used. The colours are darker toned, compared to the Iznik works, and thus resemble the tiles of the Anatolian Seljuks. Rather than red clay, a new, gorgeous style was launched with blue-white ceramics, similar to white, hard clay porcelain. The earliest examples are the single- glazed bricks on the minaret of the Kütahya Kurşunlu Mosque, dated 1377. Kütahya tiles are used in architectural works in İstanbul and other important places.
Traditional Dress and Hand Embroidery
Under the influence of the Germiyanid and Ottoman palace wardrobes, Kütahya was the origin of valuable clothing, featuring velvet, silk and wool fabrics intricately embroidered with the highest quality coloured silk and gold threads. You walk along Germiyan Street to see timeless examples of traditional dress, patiently hand embroidered with love, sorrow and hope.
The centuries-old tile making skills in the area extend to porcelain. Kütahya has many important porcelain factories and the province exports to numerous counties. The private museum in the city exhibits 76,000 pieces, all of which bear the traces of Turkish and world history.
The museum’s invaluable collections include Ottoman orders of state and merit, items belonging to the sultans, war tools, defence equipment, special design jewellery, and classic automobiles from the Ottoman era to the present. are exhibited. European porcelains, Kütahya tiles, Dolmabahçe and Topkapı Palace porcelains and tile panels are also showcased in the museum; produced between the 16th and 18th centuries, the originals of some are exhibited in internationally renowned museums.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network
Kütahya joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network on October 31, 2017 and earned the title of “Creative City” in the field of Crafts and Folk Art. Kütahya is among the 49 cities in the world designated a Creative City by UNESCO.
UNESCO Living Human Treasures
The prominent tile artist Sıtkı Olçar was the first to receive the Living Human Treasure designation, awarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008. After the death of Olçar in 2010, tile master Mehmet Gürsoy was designated a Living Human Treasure by UNESCO in 2009. In 2020, tile artist Hamza Üstünkaya, from Kütahya, received the title.