Marbling Art

Even there aren’t exact evidences about the emergence date of ebru, it can be stated that there was a similar technique in China and Japan in the 13th century. Ebru which is pronounced as ebre in Turkistan, has been called as ebri when it passed to Iran via the silk road. Since there are shapes similar to clouds, we can see the relation with the ebri word which means cloud in Persian. The same name which is also popular in the Ottoman country, has been called as ebru in the recent years because of pronounciation difficulties.

The branch of the decoration art which gives result very quickly, has walked on the India, Iran and Istanbul line; in the same century it has been talen by the Eurpean travelers from İstanbul to Eurpoe; so it has been called marbling in Europe; Turkish marble paper or Turkish paper. The marbling paper which has been spread to England and America in time, has shown differences according to each country’s art understanding; that the used material is different has played an important role in ti.

Even it is presented as a plaque today, marbling is a developing field in the book arts like calligraphy and decoration arts. Books and albums were decorated with marbling.

The marbles of which we know the date are the papers on which the time was written. The date notes on some marblings in some books of the 15th century give us a little bit iade about that period. Making the same marbling is impossible because it is related to many variables like tragacanth, horse hair, rose branch, soil color, cattle gall. It wasn’t possible to find old information about marbling except the work called Tertîb-i Risale-i Ebri. Except Hatib Mehmed Efendi and Şebek Mehmed Efendi, we don’t have any information about our artists before the 20th century.  Since the marbling artists didn’t sign their works until Necmeddin Okyay, we can not know many of them.

When the marbling art was about the dissappear in İstanbul, it was transffered to the next generations by Uzbek Sheikh Ethem and his student NEcmeddin Okyay. Necmeddin Okyay has searched for Turkish style in the old books and albums and has tried to revive marbling. His efforts gave results; marbling was seen in the Turkish book arts in the recent year. He has applied the customs, model, signature and liberty traditions to marbling and this has provided that marbling has gained a stable range.

Mustafa Düzgünman who was the nephw and student of Necmeddin Okyay has played an important role in the Turkish marbling art. The unique chain which connects the Turkish marbling to Ottoman has been realized. Turkish style and preferences have reached the new generations by him.

Today, there are marbling artist who make modern and free works beside the traditional ones.


Şebek Mehmet Efendi (16th century)

Hatib Mehmet Efendi (?-1773)

Şeyh Sadık Efendi (?-1846)

Hazerfen İbrahim Ethem Efendi (1829-1904)

Abdülkadir Kadri Efendi (1875-1942)

Sâmi Efendi (1838-1912)

Aziz Efendi (1871-1934)

Necmeddin Okyay (1883-1976)

Cemilzâde Mehmed Ali  (?-1977)

Sâcid Okyay (1915-1999)

Sâmi Okyay (1910-1933)

Süheyl Ünver (1898-1986)

Bekir Efendi (20th century)

Mustafa Düzgünman (1920-1990)