The term handicraft is used for everything that used to be made by hand
before industrialization, and that includes stone-working, shoe-making,
ceramics, weaving etc. Arts in general have been divided into two categories,
fine arts and handicrafts, since the Renaissance. Before the Renaissance, these
two categories were considered to be one. Until the 20th century, all activities
except fine arts were considered handicrafts and attracted only secondary
attention in society. This led to the neglect of some handicrafts such folk
architecture and woodworking, which in fact includes examples of the most
outstanding artistic merit.
The same situation also applies to Turkey. Until the middle of the 19th
century there was no artificial distinction between fine arts and handicrafts.
Yet this eventually appeared due to changes in Western thinking. Since there was
no word available to express the idea of handicrafts, the word “zanaat” was
taken from Arabic. The Arts and Crafts Movement in England in the middle of the
19th century helped the emergence of a new vision of handicrafts, although work
that began in 1910 dealt the final blow to this conception. Today, the concept
of handicrafts has lost much of its importance. Many crafts that encompass
modern artistic understanding and aesthetics, such as architecture, ceramics and
rug and carpet-making are considered within the framework of art.