This page delves into the ancient art of Illumination, specifically Tezhip. It covers its definition, historical development, and the paints and materials traditionally employed. Details include the art's distinctive use of gold, framing methods, production of natural aher glue, and a specialized gold beating technique. Additionally, it discusses different techniques within their historical contexts and outlines the process for commissioning these artworks.
Tezhip, the traditional Islamic art of manuscript illumination, flourished notably during the Ottoman era, merging intricate compositions with the divine word to create captivating artworks. Anisa's work represents both a continuation and a personal reimagining of this historic art form and has gained recognition for its unique fusion of traditional patterns with modern sensibilities. She offers commissioned pieces and shares her expertise with a broader audience.
Originating as an Uyghur art form in the 9th century, Illumination thrived during the eras of the Timurids, Ottomans, and Mamelukes. Tezhip is derived from the Arabic root 'zeheb' and means gilding, adorning with gold. Female artists of this art are called müzehhibe, and male artists are also called müzehhip. They created intricate designs on paper for books and sheets (illuminated panels). The 18th century witnessed new motifs, adding depth and richness to this art form. Today, prominent Illumination artists include Gülnur Duran, Çiçek Derman, Şahin İnalöz, Cahide Keskiner, Ülker Erke, Melek Anter, and Münevver Üçer.
Did you know that real gold is used in Tezhip Illumination Art?
In the Art of Tezhip Illumination, gold leaf is used to decorate intricate designs. This age-old tradition has been practiced for centuries and adds a touch of symbolic significance, visual impact, durability, contrast, and artistic versatility.
In illumination art, gold is prized for its symbolic richness and visual impact. Its reflective qualities enhance artwork aesthetics and contrast sharply with other colors, highlighting key elements. Gold's durability ensures preservation, and its versatility in forms like leaf or paint allows for varied artistic expressions.

Key aspects of gold's use in illumination:
1️⃣ Symbolic Significance: Gold is used in illumination art to symbolize wealth, power, enlightenment, and divinity.
2️⃣ Visual Impact: Gold's radiance and reflective properties enhance the visual appeal of illuminated manuscripts and artworks.
3️⃣ Durability: Gold is resistant to corrosion and fading, ensuring the long-lasting preservation of gilded elements in illuminated works.
4️⃣ Contrast: Gold contrasts sharply against other colors and materials, emphasizing important elements in the artwork.
5️⃣​​​​​​​ Artistic Versatility: Gold can be applied in different forms, such as gold leaf or paint, and various techniques can enhance its visual effects.
 Tezhip Exhibition
Anisa's two pieces were showcased at the Aydın Classical Handicrafts Illumination (Tezhip) Exhibition, which took place in 2023 at the Cihanoglu Complex. Elif Aydin, Anisa's teacher, guides her in her work.
"Shukufe" is a transliteration of the Persian word شکوفه, which means "blossom." In botanical symbolism, flowers often symbolize beauty, growth, and renewal. Tulips are a popular and significant flower in many cultures, particularly Persian and Ottoman. In Persian literature, the tulip is often associated with love and passion. In the Ottoman Empire, the tulip symbolizes perfection and beauty. "Tulip Shukufe" refers to an illuminated design featuring a blossoming tulip, aligning with the practices of Tezhip, where the natural beauty of flowers is often represented in an abstract and stylized manner.
Alif's Isolated Form ا
Letter name (Classical pronunciation) Alif
Letter name in Arabic script أَلِف
ALIF, signifying the first letter 'A' in the Arabic alphabet, bears profound symbolic and spiritual significance often linked to unity and singularity. The concept underscores recognizing the divine through the human form, mirroring the belief that humans are fashioned in God's image and carry a spark of the divine essence. This imbues humans with the potential for spiritual ascension and the quest for unity with the divine. The elongated vertical line of ALIF, reminiscent of an upright human figure, represents the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. Its stylized shape beautifully encapsulates the connection between heaven and earth, serving as a symbolic conduit linking the tangible and spiritual domains.
Shukufe is an artistic technique that employs flower motifs to create breathtakingly beautiful works of art. It refers to the unopened flowers and buds that inspire intricate designs. The rose, known for its delicate petals and intoxicating fragrance, is revered among poets and artists as the ultimate symbol of love and beauty. This regal flower is sometimes called the "sultan of flowers," a title that speaks to its majestic presence.
Creating shukufe art can be a lengthy process, requiring the gradual accumulation of color layers through continuous, meticulous brushwork. This technique, known as shading, results in a gradual gradient of color that adds depth and dimension to the work. While it may be a slow and tedious process, the result is a seamless and stunning work of art that is well worth the effort. Whether incorporated into a painting, a piece of poetry, or a decorative piece of art, shukufe and its evocative flower motifs will surely add a touch of sophistication and elegance to any piece.

"Magnificent Fresco" is a masterful integration of Tezhip, the traditional Islamic art of illumination using real gold, with classic wallpaper motifs reimagined for contemporary interior design. This artwork blends intricate, symbolic floral and fauna motifs, including elegant representations of pheasants, symbolic of beauty and nobility, with the sophistication of Rumi calligraphy, adding depth and a sacred dimension. The use of genuine gold leaf in the design pays homage to the luxurious illuminated manuscripts of the past, infusing the piece with a timeless quality. Encased in a modern double-glass frame, this work celebrates cultural legacy. It creates a seamless visual continuity between the art and the space it adorns, exemplifying a unique synthesis of historical artistry with modern design sensibilities. Process and more details can be seen here
ARTWORK #4: Heavenly Dream of Levni
"The Heavenly Dream of Levni" is a project that honors women's empowerment during the Ottoman Tulip Era, a time known for its cultural outreach and the elite's fascination with tulips. The artwork is inspired by Levni, the Tulip Era's celebrated master of miniature and realistic painting, specifically recreating his piece "Women in Attire." Enhancements include a spring-themed backdrop with pink blossoms and a "Munhani" style border featuring curvilinear motifs.
Observations of the Ottoman Era at Topkapi Palace ➡️
This digital sketch reimagines Tezhip techniques, centering on "Levni's Woman," a stylized figure dressed in Ottoman-era garments. The figure is depicted in a modest pose, looking downward, with her attire intricately patterned and layered, accentuating her form with long, flowing sleeves typical of the time. The background features pink blossoms, symbolizing spring and renewal, adding a natural contrast to the historical dress. The borders are in Munhani style, featuring vibrant and traditional motifs that reflect the manuscript-like quality of Ottoman art. The artwork references the Tulip Era, a flourishing period in the 18th-century Ottoman Empire known for its cultural vibrancy. "Levni's Women" are portrayed uniquely, with visible, engaging features and clothing that enhances their femininity, setting them apart from traditional Miniature Art.
What is Aher Glue?
During the Ottoman period, an adhesive and coating was applied to gilding paper used in illumination [Tezhip].
To make natural aher glue that is suitable for use in artwork, you will need the following ingredients:
❃ 1 teaspoon of water, ❃ 2 teaspoons of starch
❃ Half a teaspoon of gelatin, ❃ 1 quantity of alum.        
① Combine the water, starch, gelatin, and alum in a pot.
② Cook the mixture until it reaches a custard-like consistency.
③ Once cooked, the glue does not deteriorate when placed on raw cardboard and helps keep insects away.
④ When working with artwork, use this glue as it makes it easy to clean the paint.
By following this process, you can create a natural aher glue.
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Tezhip natural glue making
Anisa's Tezhip Practices​​​​​​​
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
TEZHIP Practises by Anisa Ozalp
Notebook, Gold leaf, A wide, cornerless glass dish, Strained honey (or Arabic gum), Distilled water
Step-by-step process:
1. Prepare your workspace by ensuring your hands are clean and free of creams or substances.
2. Place a drop of strained honey in the middle of the wide glass dish.
3. Take a sheet of gold leaf from the notebook and gently touch it to allow it to stick to your hand.
4. Begin crushing the gold leaf by rubbing it between your fingers and palm. Continue crushing for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
5. As the honey dries, add distilled water to the dish instead of more honey to prevent excessive stickiness.
6. The gold leaf will transform into small particles and eventually a fine powder during crushing.
7. Allow the crushed gold to spread naturally in the dish.
8. Once all the gold leaf sheets from the notebook have been crushed, the dish will contain a mixture of gold particles and honey.
9. Separate the gold from the honey by adding distilled water to the dish and stirring. The gold particles will move in the water, while the honey will settle at the bottom.
10. Carefully pour off the clear water on top, leaving the gold particles at the bottom of the dish.
11. Transfer the remaining gold particles to a small dish for further use or storage.
12. Allow the gold particles to settle in the small dish.
13. The next step would be transferring the gold particles from the small dish to another surface or container.
14. After allowing the gold to settle and removing the clear water from the top, you will see the gold particles sticking together in the dish.
15. Transfer the gold particles to a smaller dish to make it easier to work with. This can be done by carefully pouring the gold particles into the smaller dish.
16. To prevent the gold particles from sticking to the sides of the smaller dish, add distilled water to the dish. This will help create a smooth surface for the gold particles.
17. Gently stir the mixture in the smaller dish to ensure the gold particles are evenly distributed and to prevent them from clumping together.
18. Once the gold particles are well-distributed in the water, carefully pour off any excess water, leaving the gold particles in the smaller dish.
19. The gold particles are ready for further use at this stage. You can apply them directly to your desired artwork using a brush or other appropriate methods.
20. If you want to store the gold particles for later use, allow them to dry completely. This can be done by covering the smaller dish and letting it sit for approximately 2-3 hours, allowing the excess water to evaporate.
21. Once the gold particles have settled and the water has evaporated, the remaining gold can be used as desired by directly applying it or packaging it for future use.
Anisa began her journey of learning Tezhip, also known as illumination and gilding, in September 2021 at Cihanoğlu Külliye in the Köprülü District of Aydın. The term "külliye" refers to a common social complex during the Ottoman Era. Cihanoğlu Külliye, built in 1756 by Cihanzade Müderris Abdülaziz Efendi, is an important example of the Ottoman Baroque style. Its square-plan units feature masonry walls, wooden roofs, and an opening to the courtyard with a low-arched door and rectangular window.
CIhanoglu Kulliyesi


Techniques and Historical Context of Tezhip Illumination*
This process involves creating a shading effect with a brush. Gold droplets are added to leaf tips and gradually dispersed to the rest of the leaf. The key to this technique is decreasing the density of the gold particles the further they get from the tip. Although it requires significant time and effort, the brush strokes must remain invisible.
The real charm of Halkârî becomes evident after the final sealing process. Various techniques like Tahrirli halkâri, colored halkâri, semi-transparent halkâri, and halkâri with painted motifs are utilized. Tahrirli halkâri highlights the design against a light-colored backdrop, while semi-transparent halkâri uses semi-transparent ink. The painted motif halkâri technique needs two layers and, therefore, twice the time to complete.
This process involves drawing decorative lines in parallel at equal intervals. Also referred to as 'havalı' [Aired] due to the space between the lines, this technique requires that the spacing is visually comfortable and in proportion to the size of the motif. Usually, two contrasting colors are used against the background, with small and simple motifs.
Also known as "sieve-based scattering,"  aks. [Zer-efşan -Altın Serpme] This technique involves putting gold leaf into a sieve-like box and using a dry brush to make the gold particles fall onto a pre-moistened surface. Another variant artists employ is the brush scattering technique, where gold particles are combined with water, picked up with a brush, and sprinkled onto the surface.
As a visual representation of divine words, the art of calligraphy has been deeply revered across the traditional world. Tezhip aims to convey this divine word through intricate compositions, creating works that further disclose it to captivate the audience. Even though the art of tezhip, complementing calligraphy, traces its origins to the 7th century, Its full bloom and fusion with writing occurred during the Ottoman era in the late 15th and 16th centuries. Tezhip art incorporates many motifs, including stylized motifs such as Rûmi, hatai, and münhani, alongside various floral, arboreal, and geometric designs.
* Techniques and Historical Context of Tezhip Illumination: Inspired by Article of Edip Yilmaz and Rumeysa Şimşek
To Whom It May Concern,
As Anisa's Tezhip teacher, I have observed her exceptional abilities as an artist. She possesses a keen perception and has demonstrated a strong aptitude for hand skills. Anisa has a natural talent for composition, and her pencil drawings and color perception are truly impressive.
In addition to her artistic talents, Anisa is a pleasure to work with. She is respectful and compatible with her surroundings, making her a joy to teach and be around.
I do not doubt that Anisa has the potential to excel in various fields within the fine art industry. I wholeheartedly recommend her for any program or opportunity she may be seeking, and I believe she will make a valuable addition to any artistic community.
MÜZEHHİBE ELİF AYDIN (December 29, 2022)
Anisa'nın Tezhip öğretmeni olarak, onun yeteneklerini sanatçı olarak gözlemlemekten mutluluk duydum. Algısı çok iyi ve el yeteneğine sahip olduğunu yaptığı işlerde göstermiştir. Anisa doğal bir yetenekle kompozisyon için, ve karakalem çizimleri ve renk algısı gerçekten etkileyicidir.
Sanatsal yeteneklerinin yanı sıra, kendisiyle calışırken keyif verici bir kişiliği vardır.  Çevresine saygılı ve uyumlu olduğu için, ona öğretmek ve etrafında olmak keyiflidir.
Anisa'nın, güzel sanatlar endüstrisinin çeşitli alanlarında başarılı olma potansiyeline sahip olduğuna şüphem yoktur. Onu başvurduğu bir program veya fırsat için tavsiye ediyorum ve inanıyorum ki, herhangi parçası olacağı sanatsal topluluklara değerli bir katkıda bulunacaktır.
The Art and Journey of Tezhip: Anisa's Exploration of Manuscript Illumination
Anisa, a dedicated Tezhip artist, began her journey into the realm of Islamic Manuscript Illumination in 2021, studying at CİHANOĞLU KÜLLİYESİ, Aydin. With a keen eye for the History of Tezhip, she gained proficiency in creating intricate Tezhip Patterns inspired by Ottoman Tezhip and its evolution into Modern Tezhip. Through meticulous practice, she mastered Tezhip Techniques using authentic Tezhip Materials, resulting in Handmade Tezhip masterpieces. Her journey has been documented through a series of Tezhip Tutorials designed to aid Tezhip for Beginners in their artistic journey.
Her works reflect Traditional Tezhip designs but also incorporate her unique style. In workshops and Tezhip Courses, she shares her learnings, and her exhibits at the Aydın Classical Handicrafts Illumination (Tezhip) Exhibition have garnered widespread acclaim. Her art is also available for enthusiasts who wish to Buy Tezhip Art, thereby promoting this beautiful form of Turkish Tezhip.
Anisa’s Tezhip Designs, ranging from the "Tulip Shukufe" to "Majestic Alif" and "Rose Shukufe", are a testament to her evolving style and depth of understanding. In her practice, she also details creating natural aher glue, an essential material in Tezhip artistry.
Guided by experienced Tezhip Artists, including Müzehhibe Elif Aydin, Anisa's work is a contemporary expression of an age-old art form, bringing a fresh perspective to this intricate and symbol-laden Islamic art.
The Resplendence of Tezhip: Anisa's Illuminating Journey into Gold-Gilded Art
The age-old art of Tezhip, also known as Secret Books Manuscript Illumination, is a visual testimony to the aesthetic heritage. Tezhip artist Anisa embarked on a journey into this stunning art form at the Cihanoglu Kulliyesi in Aydin in September 2021. Drawing inspiration from the rich history of Tezhip that traces its roots to the Uyghur art of the 9th century, she has cultivated proficiency in creating intricate Tezhip patterns. Today, her work is a testament to the enduring beauty of Tezhip, a form that evolved through the Timurid, Ottoman, and Mameluke eras, finally metamorphosing into its modern form. By employing real gold leaf in her work, Anisa upholds the timeless tradition of gilding that lends symbolic significance, visual impact, durability, contrast, and artistic versatility to her illuminations. With her exhibited pieces at the Aydın Classical Handicrafts Illumination Tezhip Exhibition and the meticulous presentation of the gold-beating process, Anisa provides an enriching insight into this artistic journey. She also guides us through her captivating creations, such as "Tulip Shukufe" and "Majestic Alif," underscoring the profound symbolism that pervades Tezhip art. Alongside, she acquaints us with classical Tezhip techniques like the 'shaded and scattered halkari' and 'gold sprinkling' techniques, weaving a tapestry of divine visual representation, much as the ancient müzehhibes and müzehhips did. Thus, Anisa's artistic exploration serves as a guiding light to the spiritual and aesthetic realms of Tezhip, kindling an appreciation for the beauty and grandeur of this golden art form.
Should you require innovative insights for your design ventures or are interested in commissioning art pieces, feel free to reach out to Anisa. She specializes in the Tezhip art form and is willing to contribute to your artistic projects. To gain a deeper understanding of her creative process, visit her YouTube Channel, where you can find speedpaint videos, among other informative content.
• ┈ ୨ ୧ ┈ •
ANISA TEZHIP WORKS ARE ALL ABOUT #TezhipJourney #IslamicArtRevival #OttomanManuscriptArt #TezhipTradition #ManuscriptIllumination #GoldGildingArt #AnisaTezhipArtist #CihanogluKulliyesi #UyghurHeritage #MüzehhibeArt #CommissionedTezhip #TezhipTutorials #ModernMeetsTraditional #HandcraftedIllumination #TezhipExhibition

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