Suphi Yerlihindi from Mardin, who has been dealing with the art of silver processing for 65 years, was awarded the Living Human Treasures award of UNESCO. Suphiyerli, who received the award from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, regrets the decrease in the interest in silver embroidery.

Filigree is a silver embroidery art that consists of combining fine silver wires. A handicraft that is very common in Mardin, especially among Assyrians. Although the number of masters is decreasing day by day, it still maintains its existence as a widespread handicraft branch. Suphi Hindiyerli is one of the oldest filigree masters of the city. She is 75 years old and still takes the first light of the morning to her little workshop. She makes different jewelry like bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings from silver. Just like it has been doing for 65 years.

She takes fine silver strands, goes through many processes and turns them into jewelry. Hindiyerli, who accepted VOA Turkish into his workshop, said that he learned how to make filigree from his brother under the light of the kerosene lamp. Hindiyerli, who has taught many students so far, is upset that not many masters have been trained.

Hindiyerli said, “I learned telkar from my brother. I learned in front of the gas lamp. We did not have electricity. At that time there was a kerosene lamp. I learned the things I had just cut there. Then I learned it slowly, before I started primary school, I learned this job. Filigree is not only silver, it is also gold. I made it from gold and sold it to Anatolia. I sold rose earrings, it is famous in Anatolia, it is a stereotypical model. I had 5-6 apprentices, all of them immigrated. I also immigrated for a while. I worked as a jeweler in Iskenderun to 74, then I went to Istanbul. We grew up with filigree, we said what is in Istanbul, let’s go to our country. We go to our country, we introduce it. It’s been 65 years. I trained 4 masters, now they are teaching in Public Education. When I first arrived, I had 25 girls and 125 students in 97. None of them could stand it. This profession requires patience, not everyone can. If you find a good market, you will have a good time. You don’t get rich with crafts, but you spend it. The person dealing with handicraft is half hungry and half full. This is not easy, it takes patience. We are kneaded with filigree, we will do it even if we are hungry. ” said.

Having received various awards, Hindiyerli was recently deemed worthy of the Living Human Treasures award by UNESCO under the name of “persons possessing a high degree of knowledge and skills necessary for the execution and recreation of certain elements of the intangible cultural heritage”. Hindiyerli said, “The awards I have received are many. The last time I got an award from Mr. President. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism gave awards and a plaque. Emine Hanım gave me a prize. They do not sell this award in the market, I deserve it. “May Allah not let the Republic of Turkey harm it, it spent a terrible money to keep it alive.

Hindiyerli, who opens his workshop with the same enthusiasm every morning, is pessimistic about the future of the profession. He explains the reason as follows; “Training is provided, produced and exported. This three happens together, it becomes a chain. You will train, produce, sell. I lost those markets because I could not grow crops. For example, he says that he can produce 500 pieces, but I can not grow it. There is no employee either, that’s how it remained. It ends as it started. There were many offers from Europe to do this art. They said “Wish whatever you want”. What will I wish? I eat bread here too, I eat bread there too. I cannot go anymore after this age. If I was young, I would. “

Living Human Treasures are determined by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Research and Education within the scope of the UNESCO Program, according to the following criteria;

  • He has been practicing his mastery for 10 years,

-He learned his art through master-apprentice relationship,

-Excellence in applying knowledge and skills,

-Have rare information on the subject,

-The devotion of the person or group to what they do,

-The ability to improve the knowledge and skills of the person or group (including innovations that will enable his art to meet with the society),

-The ability to transfer the knowledge and skills of the person or group to the apprentice (apprentice trained)