Toys and Playing Objects in Ottoman Istanbul During the Age of Change
Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü, Trabzon/ TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Istanbul, children, toy making, Eyüp toys, a la franca toys.
The purpose of this study was to determine -in tangible terms without ignoring the status of toy-making- what kind of toys and playing objects the children played with in Istanbul during the Ottoman times. In this regard, the study focused on Eyüp district of Istanbul that was the leading district in terms of toy making in Istanbul beginning in the second half of the 17th century. However, after the second half of the 19th century, European toys of industrial production started to fill the shelves of the toy shops. Rather a well-known subject, the state of toy-making in Eyüp and what those toys meant for the Ottoman children during the modern age has not been thoroughly studied. This is partly because the researchers have not questioned how the contemporary writers viewed the traditional and modern toys in Ottoman Istanbul. Studies often mentioned the introduction of European toys in Istanbul with the coming of the modern age but did not tangibly describe what those toys were. Therefore, this study intended to fill this gap by surveying the archival sources, contemporary observations, newspapers, child magazines and yearbooks. This study posited that toy-making in Eyüp was negatively afected by the infux of European toys in Istanbul but did not disappear in the short term. With the advent of the 20th century, a la franca toys replaced the traditional Eyüp toys. The increasing emphasis on modern education, the growing in the quantity and quality of children’s press after the 1908 revolution and the advertising articles of the Ottoman intellectuals helped the European toys dominate the market.