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LIFE OF MARBLING

While some sources date the inception of Marbling / Ebru art as early as the 13th century, unfortunately, nobody really knows when the marbling art emerged and what course it followed in its development. Libraries offer no written account other than the manuscript  "Tertib-i Risale-i Ebri" dated 1608 and published by M. Ugur Derman. 


Currently there are only two artists known to have lived and worked during the 17th Century when the art of Ebru began to be documented. The first and perhaps the most important was 'Sadik Efendi' and the other 'Sebek', who is mentioned in ''Tertib-i Risale-i Ebri", is not even a name but a nickname which translates as 'Gibbon' 

Another artist of importance is the creator of the so called "Hatip Ebru" (Hatip Marbling) style, Mehmet Efendi, who was a calligrapher and a preacher at Hagia Sophia (d.1773).  Mehmet Efendi, must have been well aware of the importance of this art since he perished while trying to save his marbling works from a fire that engulfed his house in Hocapasa. 

From the sparse information available, it is believed that the art of marbling developed in the Sufi/Dervish lodges around Bukhara in Uzbekistan where it then travelled via the Silk road into what is now modern day Turkey, in particular Istanbul. This fits with the history that is available as it is known that Sadik Efendi journeyed to the Uzbek lodges in Bukhara where he mastered the art and then later travelled to lodges in Constantinople/Istanbul.

Sadik Efendi began as the first link in a chain and passed on mastery of the techniques to his son Ibrahim Edhem Efendi, who was an accomplished artist himself and another big influence on the development of Ebru. 

 

Whilst we don't have sufficient knowledge about Edhem Efendi, it must be noted that marbling found a second life in his tray. Indeed, known with by title "Hazerfen" as he was a master in dozens of arts and crafts from calligraphy to marbling, turnery, printing, carpentry, weaving, seal making and casting.

 

Marbling literally blossomed in the tray of yet another hazerfen, Hazerfen Necmettin Okyay, who had learned the art from Edhem Efendi at the Uzbek Lodge. He played an extremely important role not only in the spiritual but also artistic life in Uskudar ( its a district in Istanbul and consider that the home of marbling). Necmettin Okyay brought into being a new style his predecessors had not tried in marbling; namely the addition of  flowers of all kinds. Carnations, hyacinths, tulips, pansies, daffodils, corn poppies first blossomed in his tray and inscribed marbling was also first tried by him. Thus, the flower-patterned and inscribed marbling is called "Necmettin Marbling". 

 

He began teaching the art of Ebru in 1916 at the Medreset-ül Hattatin and continued until 1948 at the Academy of Fine Arts (today's name: Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University) . He taught the art of Ebru to his sons Sami (1910-1933), Sacit (1915-1998) and his nephew Mustafa Düzgünman (1920-1990) and they in turn taught and inspired a whole new generation of artist within who's hands the art continues to thrive.

Hatip Mehmet Efendi , Hatip Marbling

Suleymaniye Library, Manuscripts,4800 /20-9

'' The Dream of Water  Ebru , The Living Tradition, Ebristan Publication /  Hikmet Barutcugil''

Necmeddin Okyay, Flower Marbling

Rezzan Alptuna Collection

'' The Dream of Water  Ebru , The Living Tradition, Ebristan Publication /  Hikmet Barutcugil''

Mustafa Duzgunman, Istanbul (1920-1990)

Battal Marbling

'' Duzgunman School In Turkish Marbling''

Necmeddin Okyay, Koltuk Marbling

Suleymaniye Library, Manuscripts,4792 / 34

'' The Dream of Water Ebru , The Living Tradition, Ebristan Publication /  Hikmet Barutcugil''