Mis Soap (Soap with Parfume)

Indispensible Element of Interior Decoration: Mis Soap

These pieces of ornamentation, still seen in the houses of Edirne, leave a sense of refreshment with their appearance and outstanding scent.

Fruit shaped soaps were used both as ornamentation and for cleaning in the past. These soaps are produced in the shape of apple, peer, peaches, grapes, cherries, banana, melon, strawberry, lemons and others fruits with each one carrying a unique scent as they stand out to be the essential trading good of Edirne in the 19th century. It is now a well known fact that the oils of plants and vegetables are easily consumed into the body through the nose, lungs and skin, which turns out to be of great assistance to the bodily health.

The shape of fruits as well as the fruit essences added to these soaps by the ancestors bring these simple ornamentations to be a kind of folk medicine at the same time.

Having served in their time as a tool of cleaning yet being an ornament today, the fruit shaped soaps are created through melting the classic gren soaps. After liquidising, the soap is left to cool down with a few drops of rose oil added. The soap dough then needs to be shaped. The dough is formed in the shape of the fruit consistent with the scent essence added into it before. Finally, the soaps receive their visual beauty with the paint job and are ready for presentation.
Soap making was a popular occupation in Edirne in early 19th century. By the late 19th and early 20th century, the number of stores selling soaps in Bedesten and Arasta Bazaars was over 40 and a district was named “Sabuni” (of soap) after the soapmakers which clearly reveals the importance of the profession as a source of income for the poeple of Edirne. Not all of the soap produced was sold; a great many of them were sent to Topkapı Palaca in Istanbul upon the request of the Sultan.

Parfumed Fruit Soaps were also precious ornaments. They were placed in the rooms by the daughter and mistresses of the Sultan. It was also a point of special attention to secure fruit soaps into the gifts to be sent to foreign presidents. The most important individual who sustained fruit shaped soap making as a profession in the second half of 20th century was Mehmet Ergörsel. In addition to Mehmet Usta who continued this proffesion accompanied by Basri Ergörsel, Reşat Usta, whose surname is unknown to us today, played a role of great significance in allowing this tradition to survive until this day.