the back streets of Gaziantep, steeped in the
atmosphere of fairytale, an elderly craftsman,
his face burnished by years in the sun, was
giving a final polish to a wooden box inlaid
with mother-of-pearl. This beautiful box would
be able to contain the dreams of everyone, including
the Little Prince. Soon it would be placed in
a shop window to draw the eyes of passers-by
with its exquisite shimmering patterns. I followed
the old man into his workshop, where he inlayed
all kinds of objects, from coat stands to mirrors,
chairs and tables, but above all boxes, to listen
to the story of his craft.
In Gaziantep mother-of-pearl inlay is used to
decorate every conceivable kind of wooden object.
The best wood for inlay is the local walnut.
Did you know that the walnut tree takes photographs?
The craftsman surprised me by explaining that
when you cut a paper thin sliver of wood from
a walnut tree over a century old, you find an
image of its surroundings drawn across every
layer of wood in the trunk.