THE TRADITIONAL ANATOLIAN TOY COLLECTION OF ART HISTORIAN MEHMET VEHBI UYSAL (ANAMUR)
Toys have historical and cultural value and are important witnesses to our recent history. Toys discovered and produced by children help to facilitate the development of their manual dexterity, aid in their education.
Toys, which are developed for commercial ends, pollute the air. Moreover, industrial toys hinder children’s creativity and productivity. The materials of traditional toys generally come from nature, and such toys are recyclable.
After the 1960s, the consumer market in Anatolia destroyed traditional toys. As a result, getting examples of authentic traditional toys requires great effort.
Some 800 examples of traditional toys were found as the result of work in many areas of Anatolia over 15 years. This was done in order to help explore the historical, social and cultural aspect of toys from Anatolia and to prevent traditional toy culture from being lost forever.
In order to show the historical aspect of toys, examples of traditional toys are exhibited along with photographs and drawings from the Ottoman period.
Throughout history there have always been toys and games. There is no one place where toys were first born.
Examples of Toys in the Collection
- Babies’ Toys: Playing with toys in infancy begins in the first months. In this section of the collection there are cradles made of wood and iron, small wooden bells made of walnuts, and small cradle bells.
- Materials for playing games: In this section, pots and pans which girls use to play games as well as ceramic armchairs and wooden chairs are exhibited.
- Dolls: Dolls occupy an important place in Turkish culture. In the doll section of the collection, folklore dolls from Damal, Soganli, Tokat, Alanya, Cunda, Anamur, and Silifke are exhibited.
- Wheeled Toys: One of the most important kinds of toys in the world of children is wheeled toys. Examples of wheeled toys are as follows: trains, hoops, etc. made from such materials as wood, metal, etc.
- Sliding, Floating, Flying etc. Toys: Examples of these toys are wooden sleds, ships, boats, helicopters, planes, etc. made from rubber.
- Percussions, Wind Instruments, Banjos, and Vibrating Toys: Toy examples of percussions and wind instruments, which are the oldest instruments in the world, are very common. Examples of these toys are drums, tambourines made from wood, metal, mud, pike, glass, etc., stringed instruments made from pike, terracotta pipes, pipes and sipsiler made from pike (whistles), trumpets, cradle gongs, rattle-toys, dramanlar (little drums), tongs rings, tabors, flutes, etc.
- Toys about War and Hunting: The hunting instinct has been the main amusement of boys, just like the mothering instinct weighs large on little girls. This section of the collection includes elastic bands, felt and woven slings, pike rifles, crackers, pike shields, bows and arrows, fish spear guns, wooden guns and traps.
- Whirligigs, Swivels, etc.: There are a great many examples of whirligigs, swivels, etc. which play an important role in child’s creativity. These toys are generally made from such materials as buttons, wires, walnut and rollers and have different types like thin boards, wire rings, propellers and whipping tops called “VIN.”
- Ball games: The ball has been the most important toy for games since ancient times. Examples include aba topu, eğir, çelmeli ball, cicili tavuk, etc. made from stone, wood, chunk, fabric, cord, rubber, felt, wool, etc.
- Marble games: The oldest marble games must have been played with such natural objects as pebble, walnut, hazelnut and fruit cores.
- Tip cat game materials: Tip cat games, which are common all over the globe, are open-area games. These games spread from Asia to the entire world. This section includes examples of tip cat game materials.
- Knucklebones: Not only children, but also adults have loved this game during ancient times. The exhibit includes a great many examples of knucklebones.
- Gambling toys: The first examples of gambling toys were found in upper Egypt. There are many examples of gambling toys in Anatolia. This section exhibits such game materials as wooden mankala, match games (paragola), ring games, etc.
- Ceremonial and Magic Toys: These dramatic toys thought to have belonged to children are actually components of ceremonies and magic which were given to children by adults. The exhibition includes the figure of dede made from mud, the toy called ebemama made from mud, the saya ceremonial object made from such materials as bell, saddlebag and bişşek, and the game material called sinkurdu which is a means of ritual.
- Toys Made by Imitating Adults: Children imitate objects used by adults during their daily lives and create toy versions of many objects. Here examples include the wooden churn, water mill made from pike, wooden and stone well, spinning wheel, carpet-weaving loom, yuvak stone, various agricultural tools, etc.
- Other Traditional Toys: These toys belong to no group, and examples include the snake whirl painted by branch, moving hen and rooster, stork made from pinecone, wooden sip, camel, dog, turtle, terracotta and tin coin boxes, and toys similar to a drill called the stone driller.
The work to prepare a comprehensive book containing an inventory of the toys’ historical development and traditional toys is about to end. In addition, work to turn toy specimens into a museum is still underway. A sponsor is needed to continue these projects.
Some selected examples (please click on pictures to enlarge):