Van Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Van/ Türkiye.

Keywords: Incense, incense burner, belief, ceramic, glaze, figure of siren


Compromising an important group of Turkish Handcrafts, ceramic provide significant information about life, economy, culture, traditions and beliefs of the societies. Ceramic findings which reached the present day are diversified in terms of function, type and form. Incensories constitute a group of this rich diversity. Special containers in which incense is placed is called incensory or incense burner. Known to be used since pre-Islamic period, incensories were made of various materials such as ceramic, brass, copper, bronze, silver and gold. Incense is named variously in different languages such as “buhur” in Persian, “bahur” in Arabic and “tütsü” in Turkish. Considered as the shared heritage of cultures and religions, incense is burned to give off beautiful mystic scents in both religious rituals, funerals and marriages as well as its use in magic, enchantment and healing. People also preferred incense in healthcare. In this study, 12th century glazed censers of Iranian origin and incense were examined and it was tried to emphasize its place and importance in Islamic Art. Tradition of burning incense in various religions and beliefs is discussed especially in terms of religious, folkloric and ethnographic aspects and differences between communities are emphasized. In addition, this study tries to determine the meanings of incense burning tradition in sociocultural and economic aspects. Thus, it draws attention to the use, functionality and symbolical meanings of less known ceramic incensories in Islam. The aim is to contribute to the world of science.