Coffee has played an important role in Turkish culture from the Ottoman period through to the present day. The serving and consumption of coffee has had a profound effect on political and social interaction, and on gender and hospitality customs throughout the centuries. Although many of the rituals involving the serving of coffee have now disappeared, coffee has remained an integral part of Turkish culture. As with the serving of tea in China and Japan, the serving of coffee in Turkey was a complex, ritualized process. It was served in small cups without handles, known as fincan, which were placed in holders known as zarflar. The word zarf comes from the Arabic word meaning container or envelope, and their purpose was to protect the cup from damage and also the fingers of the drinker from the hot liquid. Cups were typically made of porcelain, but also of glass and sometimes wood, few examples of which survive. However, because it was the zarf that was more visible, it was typically more elaborated and colourfully ornamented. Swiss boxes and objects, made in Geneva and destined for the markets in Turkey and beyond, were often brightly coloured and of unsual shape with scalloped edges, pierced bodies and set with jewels.