Cool Stuff Friday: Ebru Art.

Ebru Art, by Garip Ay. I am overwhelmed by the art work, as well as the skill and talent it takes to produce such intense beauty.


History of Ebru Art

Ebru, which is generally known today as a decorative paper art, is one of the oldest Turkish arts, but exactly where or when it started remains unknown. Ebru is an art from the realms of history, presenting to us a beauty that is full of love. It can be described as painting on water. Patterns are formed on the surface of water which has had substances added to it to increase the viscosity; the patterns are then transferred to paper. The results of this process are unique and it is never possible to achieve the same design again.

Those who have traced the history claim that the many hued Ebru that we know today was born in Turkistan in Central Asia, a place that was the center for many cultures. From the 17th century on, it became known as Turkish Paper in Europe, and from here the art of Ebru reached the rest of the world.

The Turks started to make paper in the 15th century. With their sensitive souls and their mystic personalities they became very advanced in the art of paper decoration. Ebru paper, especially those of a fine design, was first used as the background to important official state papers, a variety of treaties and the records of important events. It was used as a means to prevent the alteration of the document. The same logic can be found in the use of complicated designs on banknotes, cheque books, deeds and bonds used today. In addition, the edges of commercial registers were decorated with Ebru in order to prevent the removal of pages. Ebru holds an important place in the history of Islamic art; it was used alongside calligraphy and in publishing. Moreover, its mystic nature, that is, “the search for religious beauty”, led to its being used in many tekkes as a reflection of sufi thought.

garip ay kervan

The captions are easier to read at full screen, but if you’re like me, you’ll be busy gawking. And getting ideas.

And in wide-eyed awe…Van Gogh on Dark Water Animation.

I could watch his channel all day, but Verizon would punish me severely.


  1. johnson catman says

    Fascinating! As I have said before, I have no artistic ability. I think that is why I appreciate your posts on different types of art. It gives me some insight into what it takes to bring a piece to completion. The thought process and eyes of artists are amazing. Thanks for helping educate me!

  2. says

    Oh, you are more than welcome, I love all this too. My love of art and the work by my fellow artists is all encompassing. I find Ebru fascinating, and to say Garip Ay’s work is stunning is an understatement.

  3. says

    When I first encountered Ebru all I could think was “how the heck did they figure that out?”

    I imagine a scene where there’s an artist in Turkey, who’d been working with oils and watercolors, thoughtlessly dipped an oily brush in the water bowl, and noticed a beautiful swirl of paint floating on the water. Perhaps they blotted it up with a piece of paper, then looked at the paper. …

    I do NOT have the art skills to perform this, so I’ll throw out this idea I had years ago:
    sumi-style calligraphy as water paint
    Imagine taking a great big brush with some floatable paint, and doing chinese or japanese calligraphy on a tray of water, then drop rice paper or silk cloth down over it. I … my mind stops there. I’m sure there are technical problems.

  4. says


    I do NOT have the art skills to perform this

    I can do Sumi-e, but I doubt I can do what you describe. I do plan to have some play time with this, but I have no delusions it will be anything other than play.

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