What tombac means and which language it was derived from has not been clear until recent years. As seen in western sources; among Grand Bazaar craftsmen and public, copper alloy or an object was coming into minds firstly. However, the craftsmen and artisans earning their life with this occupation used this word as the name and derivative of the act. Accordingly, tombac is the name of gilding metal with gold.
The decrease of gold and silver objects production because of the economic reasons in 18th century resulted gold plated tombacs to be more. Plenty of Ottoman Tombac Artefacts exhibited at Anatolia, Balkan, and Middle East museums are obviously the indicator of how often this gilding method was used during Ottoman Era. It is known that these kinds of objects were produced in Anatolia during Seljuk, Byzantine, Roman, Hellenic eras before the Ottomans.
Tombac decreased towards the end of the 19th century and has begun to disappear. However, it gave the most prominent and precious examples of metal working art throughout the centuries it was preferred and added splendour to copper objects when taken to the Ottoman Palaces.
There are plenty of artefacts that were gold and mercury amalgam alloy tombacs such as horse chamfron (armour for a horse’s head), helmets, ewer basin sets, plates, bowls, torches, candlesticks, etc. from Ottoman Era at Topkapı Palace and Harbiye Military Museums.
Stating that this art necessitates high patience and promptness, we can summarise the phases of tombac as below… Mercury and finely-chopped 24-carat gold are mixed in a glass or porcelain pot. Mercury and gold is mixed via wooden stick in order gold to be dis solved completely. This mixture alloy is filtered in a muslin to be ready for use. The surface of the object which will be gilded is cleaned from all oxide and dirt. Amalgam is spread on the object via a brush or a piece of fabric; and the object is put on wood charcoal which is about to cool, and then oven dried in order mercury to be vaporised.
So since the gold is stuck on the object, the gilding becomes so qualified. Silver tombac can also be done with 1000-carat silver in mercury. We as Hassa Collection aim both to raise new apprentices and masters and introduce revitalised precious Ottoman objects to all world