• Neredeyim :

The Art of Miniature


Name of the Element: The Art of Miniature
Other Names of the Element: Tasvir, Nakış Resim, Kitap Resmi 
Inventory Number of the Element:
Date of the Registration: 06/08/2014
Date of the Inventory Update for the Element: June 2016 ve March 2019

ICH Domains of the Element:

  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
  • Traditional craftsmanship

Provinces Submitted Inventory Form for the Element: Ankara (2019), İstanbul (2014).


Brief Description about Element:

Miniature is the art of illustrating stories, events or knowledge by a method of painting. In Ottoman era, this art was called “nakış” or “tasvir” and its practitioners were called “nakkaş”, “müsavvir”, miniature artist, tasvir artist or “şebihnüvis”.

In the course of time, the art of Miniature has evolved in different schools and geographies. It has gained a new character by Islam. Miniatures which are applied to manuscripts has become the widespread visual arts.

Ottoman miniature school created a different illustration method by harmonizing the cultural diversity and the pluralism of empire geography with the principles of expression and narration evolved in centuries. Beginning from the 19th century, the areas where this art is applied has diversified and, in addition to books, miniatures have been applied more onto the materials like walls, canvas, wood, tile and leather.

Nakkaş paints the pictures to the papers which are glazed with the egg-white and which have blank areas for the pictures. Mostly used equipment are organic dyes and thin brushes made of bird feathers. Today, industrial dyes and equipment are also used.

Nakkaş, puts a paper made of cotton onto a marble platform and uses a tool made of ivory to straighten the paper and to make it luminous. Then, he or she decides on the sizes of the shapes and sketches them onto the paper. Sidelines of the shapes are drawn over in ink and the figures are painted and colored with madder which can preserve its luminous appearance for a long time.

Landscapes, ceremonies at palace like accession, circumcision, wedding and hunting scenes are depicted as the dominant subjects of miniatures. Miniatures give information about the daily life, clothes and rituals of the era. Therefore, they also function as a historical document.

The art of miniature had started to be degraded due to the Westernization effect and the popularized press in the 19th century. Miniature artists such as Prof. Dr. Süheyl Ünver and his apprentices who learn the art in master-apprentice relationship have an important role in its connection with modern Turkish art.

Geographical Location of the Element:

In Turkey, the element is  widely known all across the country and it is practised intensely in big cities such as Istanbul and Ankara.

Related Groups and Communities:

Miniature artists, masters, their apprentices and people interested in the element as a part of their culture or for self-development constitute the concerned community.

Miniature craftspeople, academicians, several NGOs and private workshops conducting research and providing formal and non-formal educational courses are also among the community of the element.

Strategic Safeguarding Plan for the Element:

There is a safeguarding plan related with the element at the national level. The safeguarding plan prepared together with the related NGOs and bearers in 2019 consists of 5 main categories:

  1. Transmission and viability of the element
  2. Visibility and awareness raising measures
  3. International Cooperation
  4. Academic and documentation measures
Training programmes towards enhancing of the practice