Turkish Bone Folder

It’s hard to imagine a simpler and more utilitarian tool than a bone folder, but shape of the folder below is unmistakably Islamic or Turkish looking.  I’ve never seen a tip like this on a European or American bone. It amazes me that such a simple shape can embody the complexities of national identity.  It closely resembles a minaret or arch.  This one was purchased from a cobblers supply store in Istanbul, is made from a fairly dense (cow?) bone, rapidly fabricated with many deep scratches. 




4 Replies to “Turkish Bone Folder”

  1. I know it looks like a bone folder, and I’m sure in the right hands it would act like a bone folder, but I’m curious, do you know if it was intended as a bone folder? The fact that it was purchased at a cobbler’s shop implies it was used as some sort of cobbling tool, but I suppose it just as well have been used to prop up a wobbly table. Either way, it is impressive how a simple shape immediately evokes a particular culture.

  2. The man that sold it to me held it in his hand, almost like a pencil, and used it to score a line, hence the sharp tip. I assume the other end would be used as a burnisher. I have a couple of other American Cobbler’s bones that I will take pictures of. But I’m not really sure how it is used, and chances are different workers use it in different ways.

  3. Hi all.

    Nice to this tool here. When we had Kristen Rose and two other conservators here in Istanbul we went to shop that sells shoemaker supplies. They were selling these I think you can find this tools with name “kemik Istaka” (*) here. (Kemik means bone btw.)

    This is a very underpriced product. Another product which resembles this one is “makta”. Makta is a small board for cutting bamboo pens. Since the customers of “makta” are artizans it is much more expensive than tis “Istaka”.

    I guess the price explains the finish. I heard that even the producers of Istaka are unwilling because of the prices.

    As I know, this is cow bone.

    About the shape… When I look at this tool, I feel like home. I see that our ancestors liked geometry very much, I guess they saw a sublime beauty in it.

    *:In Turkish alphabet, we have two different letters one of which looks like “i” even if it is uppercase; has a dot above aoth cases. The other one is without a dot. It is like “I” even if it is lowercase.

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