Turkey has been well-known among tourists from over the world for its beautiful nature, impressive architect and great history. People come here every year not only for tourism purposes but also for gaining more knowledge about this country. Besides, in another field, this nation also possesses a unique kind of art known as Ebru that travelers cannot skip once setting their foot on this gorgeous land. If you have never heard about this special type of painting, do not hesitate to scroll down to find out what it is!
What is Ebru?
Ebru is a sort of art in which artists draw a picture on the water surface to create different patterns with attractive colors. According to some documents, Ebru has existed for a long time since the age of the Ottoman empire in the 16th century. Before that, it was derived from Iran but no one knows no the exact time when it was.
In the past, people came up with this kind of painting to decorate their books. The images drawn were usually related to beliefs and traditions of the country such as a flag. However, after a long period of time, Ebru has been used for many purposes thanks to its uniqueness and beauty. Besides, the topics are also more diverse with seas, birds, buildings, churches and so on.
Ebru is especially popular in Turkey and Central Asia. To get ready for a picture, first of all, artists have to prepare some special tools such as dyes, aqueous liquids and papers. Then, they have to think of a topic and design their own paintings on the water surface instead of on papers as normal.
Besides the entertaining purpose, people also used Ebru as a secret password. There is one interesting fact about this type of art that in ancient times, if you held a book with unfinished Ebru on it, that meant there was a hidden message left inside for someone to find out. Therefore, Ebru is believed to be a safe tool for military aim in the old days.
Works of art requiring special skills
At first sight, you may find it not difficult to draw a picture. However, you can only know that it is a skillful process by taking a try. Finishing an Ebru painting is not as easy as you see the artists do. It is a long time of patience and hard practice.
There is no rule about ages, ethnic groups or genders for people who want to learn Ebru. Anyone who falls in love with this art can give it a try to become a master. However, they have to spend at least two years studying basic skills. Normally, students choose to follow experts with a lot of experience for the best outcomes.
The first thing that drawers must do is to create a colorful layer on the surface. To do this, they will use a brush with a suitable size depending on what they are going to draw to give some spots. Those spots come in various colors that artists wish to appear in their images.
After that, another brush is utilized to change the dots into different shapes such as flowers, animals, trees, etc. In this process, painters must be very careful in order not to drop water paints on the water cover or give wrong strokes. Therefore, they have to pay all of their attention to the pictures that they are working on.
When the painting is completed, people will use thin paper or cloth to cover the water surface. By doing it, the whole picture with nice colors is perfectly copied on the materials and can stay for a long time like works of art in the traditional style.
Secrets behind perfect masterpieces
According to some artists who have been working in this field for a long period of time, Ebru is a special area that requires its own tools. To have a picture of high quality, they have to make brushes and combine the colors by themselves. Traditionally, the brush sticks are usually made from rose branches while bristles are made from horse fur to keep as much water paint as possible.
About the liquid, there is a secret rate between water, paints and some other substances to prevent colors from mixing together while artists are drawing. In order to keep paints floating on the surface, people usually add ox-gall into the mixture. This unique method is a specific feature of Turkish art that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
A process of passion, patience and hard practice
Different from traditional one, Ebru takes artists years to practice and succeed. During such a long period, they have to learn how to manage colors well so that paints still stay in their positions after the pictures are finished. Thus, there might be a lot of failures that painters have to face to become masters, which is the reason why talented drawers cannot go along with this challenging field without a deep passion for it.
While working on an Ebru picture, sometimes there is a mistake which artists make by chance. In that situation, they need to calm down and come up with another creative pattern to fix their paintings. Some painters in Turkey are so skillful that you cannot realize they have just changed something from their mistakes to give you an impressive work of art, which is a nice result after a long time of improvement.
Nowadays, there have been more and more kinds of art introduced to Turkey with simple steps and a shorter time to practice. However, Ebru still remains its own beauty and peace which visitors can feel in every stroke drawn by artists. Thanks to that, it is not surprising to see groups of people standing around an Ebru stall to watch how the drawers create their perfect masterpieces. This field of art, with a traditional value behind, is a nice thing for travelers to relax after a chain of stressful days.