the art of ebru

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THE ART OF EBRU (THE ART OF MARBLING PAPER)

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THE ART OF EBRU

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Page 1: THE ART OF EBRU

THE ART OF EBRU(THE ART OF MARBLING PAPER)

Page 2: THE ART OF EBRU

THE ART OF EBRU(THE ART OF MARBLING PAPER)

Marbling is briefly described as the art of printing multi-colored swirled or stnone-like patterns on paper after handmade natural inks or paints are being dripped or sprinkled with a handmade brushes onto the surface of the thickened water.        There are different opinions about the origin of the word Ebru. The word Ebre which means (in Çağatay language) moire, veined fabric, paper etc. is believed to have first come through Silk Road to Iran and then there it changed into the word Ebrî which means like cloud or cloudy.

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Recorded as Ebrî in the oldest Ottoman sources, the word has been used as Ebrû for nearly one century.         By whom, when or how Ebrû was started to be practiced is unknown because of paper was just not durable enough and also the artists did not sign on their Ebrû papers in the past. However, some sources indicate that Ebrû was first practiced in 13. century inTurkestan and then came to Anatolia via Iranand grew simultaneously along with the Ottoman Calligraphy during the Ottoman State.

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It is thought that the history of this art goes back to the old times according to the oldest example of Ebrû in 1447 A.D. in Topkapi Place Museum and the treatise entitled as Risâle-i Tertîb-i Ebrî written in 1608 A.D. In the first half of the Seventeenth Century, Ebrû began to become very well known and named Turkish Paper or Turkish Marble paper all over Europe, thanks to travelers coming to Turkey. Traditionally used to line munuscript bindings and on the picture framing of calligraphies, Ebrû has become completely independent art in the last fifty years.

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        While all equipments used in classical Ebrû are natural, today some artificial ones are replaced with the natural ones through a movement which started in Europe. Although difficult we prefer to work in classical manner because it is one of the main part of the Islamic art as well as classically made arts are more durable. So we try to use natural equipments from paints, papers and brushes to water.

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Among the great Ebrû masters whose names or works are available today Mehmed Efendi (nicknamed Şebek) who lived in 17. century, Hatib Mehmed Efendi (d. 1773), Şeyh Sâdık Efendi (d. 1846), Hezarfen Edhem Efendi (1829-1904), Sâmi Efendi (1838-1912), Aziz Efendi (1871-1934), Necmeddin Okyay (1883-1976), Abdülkâdir Kadrî Efendi (1875-1942), Bekir Efendi (?), Mustafa Düzgünman (1920-1990).

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THE MATERIALS USED FOR MARBLING

The paints that are used in marbling are obtained from some naturally coloured stones, plants and soil that don’t melt in water and don’t contain iron, magnesium and cupper elements in their compounds. The main rule in classicalmarbling is the use of oily paint (oil-colour or aniline) that can float over water.Gum Tragacanth: This is is the name of the herbal liquid that solidifies contacting with air called geven which is used to adjust the density of water. It is cream coloured and has light adherence ability. In marbling also some other plants like sea-cord, salep, and linen seed are used for making gum tragacanth.

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Bile (ox-gall): This provides the paint to disperse over water without precipitating. The container that has bile in it is placed into boiling water in open air because of its bad smell. The acids that are inside the bile give a tension to the paint so that it can easily be spread. Tub (Trough): The standard size of tubs that are used today is 35x50cm and A3 paper sizes. The depth is 4-6 cm. In the past tubs were made of wood so they had to covered with pitch inside but today they are also made of galvanized iron, steel and aluminium.

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Brushes: Handmade brushes are better for marbling rather than using products. They can be made of horse hair tied on rose branch at a length of 25-30 cm. These brushes don’t leave all the paint on them to the tub instantly when they are scattered. In marbling handmade combs of 10-15 cm. laths and iron sticks are used as well.The paper has to be good absorbent and have a matt side, usually between 70-90gr and first quality pulp is preferred. The size of the paper has to be 3 mm. Smaller than the size of the tub.

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Making of Marbled paper: Gum tragacanth is poured into water at a proportion of 1% and dissolved in it through mixing. This solution rests for two days and before used it is filtered through fabric. The gum water has to be clear and odourless before mixing with the marbling tub that contains water and gall. The consistency of the gum mix depends on the type of marbling. The paint that has to be mixed from time to time before use and is poured onto the gummed water by the help of a brush or a thin wire. Its dispersion is controlled by adding new drops. The gall in the waterprevents different colours dissolving in each other so that with every addition the water creates new veins of harmony in several directions.

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The paint is shaped by the moisture, heat of the room or even the breath of the artist. If combed or decorated shapes are desired the embroidery is applied by a thin stick.When the marbling is finished, the paper is slowly and carefully put into the tub. The air bubbles that remain under the paper should be removed by puncturing with needle. After 15 seconds the paper absorbs the paint and is ready to be lifted by holding from two corners in the front of the tub. The gum is discharged by wiping softly and the paper is sealed on the shelf to dry.

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A SHORT DESCRİPTİON OF THE MARBLING PROCESS

The paints taken from colourful rocks and soil as well as some plants are squashed with a hand stone (Desteseng) on a marble plaque. With this process, colors of ink or paint are made thin to the extend that they float on the surface of the water. Squashed paints are poured in the concentrated cans.

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The brushes used in sprinkling paints are made from rose strip and horshair. The size of the brushes vary according to the place in which they are used.

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A thick liquid is made by blending a type of gelatin (carregeanen) or astragalus with water. Then the water is poured into tray.

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Each squashed paint is poured in application cans and then water and ox gall (bile) are added to them.

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Then we are ready to begin to sprinkle the paints and practise Ebrû as far as we can imagine

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Some thin sticks are used to stir the floating colours and flowers if desired. The marbling stages of tulip are shown below.

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After the patterns are practised in the marbling tank, the absorbent paper is gently laid onto the surface of the water. The paper is lifted off, rinsed, and hung up to dry.

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