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Marbling is the art of sprinkling the paints in the water, which is mixed with a white gum obtained from the stem of the tragacanth plant, forming designs on the water surface and copying these designs on the paper. The most important feature of the marbling is that its fascinating design can be laid down to only one paper and as a result each marbling is unique, its design can not be copied. However, a similar design can be produced. The examples of marblings have been widespread since the 16th century, and they taken place especially on the binding covers of the manuscripts, on the margins of the verses and the plates. A similar technique has been used in China since the 8th century, in Japan since the 12th century, and in India, in Iran and in the Ottoman Empire since the 16th century. It was brought by the European voyagers to Germany, France and Italy under the name of the “Turkish marbling paper” or “marbling paper” at the end of the 16th century.The paints used in marbling are completely natural ochre and they are applied in a rectangular tray. The tragacanth gum is added to the water in the tray to provide it with the stickiness and tone. In order to avoid the mingling of the paints spreading over the water, the paints are mixed with the gall. The thin string stick is used to form the sprinkled paints and the thick string stick to put drop of the paints in. The brushes used in the marbling process are made by curling the hair of the horse tail around the brunch of the rosewood.
When the paints containing gall are sprinkled homogenously all over the water in the tray with the brush, the colors stand without intermingling with each other. This type of marbling is called oversize marbling and the marbling resembling the color of the porphyry called porphyry marbling. The combed marbling is made by moving the string stick in every direction after sprinkling the paints in the same way of the oversize marbling. If these movements are made circular, it becomes a shawl marbling; and, if these movements turn to helical movements towards the center of the tray, then it becomes mocking bird’s nest marbling. In order to obtain striped-pattern marbling, the wood on which the thin sticks are attached is moved in the water with the tragacanth gum. A more influential design might be obtained if the stripped-pattern marbling is applied over the combed marbling. If a darker and non-spreading paint is sprinkled over these sorts of the marbling, sprinkled marbling is obtained. If the naphtha is used for the same process, the marbling with naphtha, over which small gaps open, is obtained. When the water, containing the tragacanth gum, in the tray gets dirty, the paints are punctuated, and it allows to be reached to the sandy marbling. One of the marblings used generally for the calligraphy is the light marbling, of which name is due to its being made with light colors. Besides, there is another marbling technique developed by Mehmet Efendi (1773), the orator of the Ayasofya Mosque, called orator marbling. Some tears dropped with a string stick on the pale-colored surface and fortune’s wheel-, hard-, or star-like shapes obtained with the help of a pin. The most important name of the marbling art is the Necmeddin Okyay. He became the first artist to adapt the flowers like tulip, carnation, multicolored violet, rosebud, poppy, and hyacinth to the marbling art after 1918; as a result, these marblings are called after him Necmeddin marblings.The paper is laid over the marbling appearing on the surface of the water and one should beware there doesn’t remain any air gap between the water and the paper. The paper is left for a ten or fifteen seconds and then pulled to both ends by holding on the two ends. At the end, the marbling is copied on the paper and it is left for drying. Mustafa Duzgunman, Niyazi Sayin and Hikmet Barutcugil are among the contemporary marbling artists. Furthermore, marbling has been developed today by the applications on glass, ceramic, tile and fabric.