We have a Traditional Evil Eye Furnace on campus. It is operated upon request.
The Traditional Evil Eye Beads
Resource: Ali Akyuz / www.nazarboncugu.com
First recorded by the Mesopotamians about 5,000 years ago in cuneiform on clay tablets, the Evil Eye may actually have originated as early as the Upper Paleolithic age. We find this figure in Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures as well as Buddhist and Hindu societies. This common tradition finds a new identity in the 3000 years old glass craftsmanship of Anatolia. A glass master combines the power the eye figure with the power of the fire and creates a new talisman: Nazar Boncugu / The Evil Eye Bead.
These masters of glass produce the magic objects of a universal belief with an amazing technique. This art has changed very little since thousands of years. The 3000 years old antique Mediterranean glass art lives in these eye bead furnaces with its every detail.
The roots of the very few glass evil eye bead masters that still practice this ages old tradition goes back to the Arabian artisans who have settled in Izmir and its towns during the decline of the Ottoman Empire by the end of 19th century. The glass art that has lost its glamour in Anatolia, combining with the eye sign, was enlivened. The masters who practised their arts at Araphan and Kemeralti, districts of Izmir, were exiled due to the disturbance of the smoke from their furnace and risk of fire in the neighbourhood.
Beginning with the 1930′s, they settle in Gorece and Kurudere villages, where pine wood they consume in great amounts, is abundant. The structure of the evil eye bead furnaces and the methods they use today are totally the same as the ancient tradition. The furnace is burnt with pine woods early in the morning. After the recycled glass pieces and colouring chemicals are placed into the special compartments, the furnace reaches a heath of 900 degrees centigrade.
This is an indicator of the high technology in building such furnaces from fire brick, clay and straw. The clay plaster over the furnaces that reach a great heath every day provides a high insulation as well protecting the whole structure from falling apart. Pine wood is especially preferred for the high temperature it provides. It also leaves very little ash and gives a certain shine and transparency to the glass.
The evil eye bead – nazar boncugu – masters, with their eyes focus on the glass work and with their steel rods fast but without any hurry. As if they are silently playing a game we do not know.
This tradition still lives in Anatolia. The glimmering evil eye beads, that are hand made with ancient methods by a very few glass masters, are distributed from Anatolia to the whole world.