Ebru - the beauty of Turkish art

By Hana Emily
Posted on May 22, 2024 3:45 AM

Turkey has been well-known among tourists from over the world for its beautiful nature, impressive architecture and great history. On top of that, Ebru arts have fascinated even insatiable travelers for centuries. If you have never heard about this special type of painting, do not hesitate to join with us in a journey into the captivating world of water marbling and unique "Turkish" painting techniques!

Before coming to visit Ebru in Turkey. If you are a foreign citizen, you must apply for a Turkey E-Visa online and learn about the requirements for citizens of other country's visas to Turkey.

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Khám phá kỹ thuật vẽ trên mặt nước Ebru | Painting, Mỹ thuật, Istanbul

What is Ebru?

Ebru is a sort of art in which artists draw a picture on the water's 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.

Bức tranh bước ra từ mặt nước - nghệ thuật Ebru và kỹ thuật "vẽ tranh thủy ấn" cổ xưa
The abstraction of the Ottoman-originated artwork

In the past, people came up with this kind of painting to decorate their books. The images drawn were usually related to the 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.

Floral Ebru - Necmeddin Okyay | Ebru art, Turkish art, Flower painting

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's surface instead of on paper as normal.

Local Guides Connect - 土耳其傳統大理石浮紋浮水拓畫Ebru Art(Water Marbling)Workshop - Local Guides Connect

Besides the entertaining purpose, people also used Ebru as a secret password. There is one interesting fact about this type of art 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 aims in the old days.

Andover-Harvard Theological Library | Proof old books are not always crumbling bindings... | Marble paper, Ancient paper, Marble painting

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 it 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.

Ebru Atölyesi - Aile Eğlencesi - istanbul.net.tr, Kültür Sanat Etkinlikleri, Konser Tiyatro İstanbul Şehir Rehberi

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.

Galatart Ebru Workshops (Istanbul, Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ) - Đánh giá

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 the wrong strokes. Therefore, they have to pay off their attention to the pictures that they are working on.

DSC03984.jpg (2560×1712) | Ebru art, Marble paper, Marbling fabric

When the painting is completed, people will use thin paper or cloth to cover the water's 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.

Ebru Painting In Turkey With Artist Garip Ay – Curiosity Magazine

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 the 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 that 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.

Ebru sanatı ile evinizi renklendirin! – Zingat Blog 🏠

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 retains 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 it, is a nice thing for travelers to relax after a chain of stressful days.

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