TURKISH PAPER: EBRU

WHEN THE EBRU ART WAS DISCOVERED, IT WAS ADOPTED BY THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE SO MUCH THAT, THE MARBLING ART CAME TO BE KNOWN AS “TURKISH PAPER” ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Ebru Art has become famous as “Turkish paper” all over the world. The art that Ottoman Empire used too much, experienced a decline during the Republican period. Then its importance began to be realized again after 1970s. While the number of Ebru masters are rapidly increasing, the most noticeable point in recent years is that right now there are much more women who has Ebru diploma than male masters.

One of the woman masters is Hülya İlter.  Hülya İlter, who has been continuing the traditional Ebru art since 2002, has the “Turkish Decorative Arts Artisans Promotion Card” which is endowed by Ministry Of Culture And Tourism. İlter is also serving as a commission member of Ministry in the department of traditional arts.

Ebru art, which is the only type that water is used in traditional arts, looks simple when it is seen from a distance. However, it requires great efforts to reveal works of art in a real sense. Hülya İlter tells about her mood when she makes Ebru art by saying “You give direction to colors in the water. Water takes the shape you want and can be affected from everything. The temperature of the room, your breath, your psychology… You can feel the power of all these in the mixture of those colors.

Ebru is like a fingerprint
According to the master artisan Hülya İlter, the number of those who devote themselves to the Ebru art has rapidly increased. However, there are imitators of the art and there are the ones who see the art as a simple hobby. They damage the reputation of the quality of real masters. İlter describes an Ebru art, which is made by a real master in this way: “Think of Ebru art as a fingerprint… It might have a similar but never exactly the same. Another feature of the artwork made by Ebru art is that no correction is done on the work after leaving the boat.”

Although it looks simple when it is seen from a distance, according to İlter, Ebru is a difficult artwork. It is work that requires meticulousness and attention especially during the dye transfer. At the same time, it is a bit troublesome in terms of the establishment and removal of the Ebru boat. So the people who labor this art need to constantly be concerned with the art by observing and loving it too much.

Hülya İlter, who mentions that her main purpose is to reach to the ones who want to learn Ebru art from the knowledgeable masters, continues workshops. She attends fair, festivals, and Turkish days abroad.  Thus, she contributes to the promotion of traditional Turkish art to the world in original form.

Ebru types
Battal Ebru, Shawl Ebru, Spanish (wavy) Ebru, Flux and Reflux Ebru, Splayed Ebru,  Ebru of the Preacher, Flowered Ebru, Ebru of the Nightingale’s nest, Light Ebru, Turtledove Ebru, Akkase Ebru, Inscriptive Ebru, Koltuk Ebru.

Famous calligraphers
Turks schooled many masters such as Hatip Mehmet Efendi (18th century), Şeyh Sadık Efendi (19th century), Bekir Efendi (early 20th century) in Ebru art. Mustafa Düzgünman and Niyazi Sayın are especially mentioned among the latest masters which are schooled after Necmettin Okyay.