Towards an Analysis of the Signs of the 'Unknown': Objects with Rituals in Turkish Culture

Bagli H., OGUT S. T.

DESIGN JOURNAL, vol.12, no.3, pp.365-382, 2009 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.2752/146069209x12530928086441
  • Journal Name: DESIGN JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.365-382
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


This paper is an attempt to read certain rituals and objects in Turkish culture from a semiotic and anthropological framework. The anthropological analysis is based on the terms from social anthropology and structuralism, like rite of passage, myth and transition, to discuss and theorize the cultural background of the phenomenon in more detail. The reason for such an analysis lies in the fact that every object with a ritual could be seen in the material form or a strong reflection of an underlying cosmology or ideology. The common point of the objects chosen for this study is that all depend on a dynamic formal change - from liquid to solid - believed to signify the notion of the 'unknown'. Change in the form in each case recalls the binary oppositions of form/matter and form/function as fundamental debates on design and material culture, especially in a non-Western society.