balbal logo

AboutMissionBoard MembersProjectsIn the PressContact

Mugats EbruMiniatureAlgeriaShanghai

Hui PeopleSoviet Wall ArtHome Sweet homeUzbek Photgrapher's Show in Konya - TurkiyeMeskhetian Turks


The art of "Ebru" or marbling, as it is known in English is a mysterious art, the history and technique of which hold many secrets. By whom, when or how Ebru was discovered is unknown. However, researchers agree that it originated in the city of Bukhara around the thirteenth century and from here spread through the Silk Road to India, Persia and Turkey. One of the great masters of Ebru, Ethem Efendi (1829-1940), was the son of Sadyk Efendi of Bukhara (?-1846).

The word Ebru is defined in modern dictionaries as "colored wavy patterns on paper". Seljuk and Ottoman calligraphers and artists used marbling to decorate book bindings, imperial decrees, official correspondence and documents but today, Ebru works are often framed as highly valued paintings.

Ebru enjoyed its golden age between 1500 and 1700, new forms and techniques were perfected in the process and Turkey remained the center of marbling for many centuries. Up until 1920s marblers had workshop in the Beyazid district of Istanbul, creating both for local and European markets where it is known under the name "Turkish Marbled Paper". Examples of these fine pieces are to be seen in museums and libraries all over the world today.

Though it is originated in Bukhara, it has been lost art for centuries. The master of miniature painting from Bukhara, Mr. Jahongir Ashurov, is the only candidate to learn Ebru in Istanbul and bring it back to the original land to revive this art.

We have contacted one of the best Ebru teachers/masters from Istanbul. Mr. Hikmet Barutcugil, who enrolled him to his Ebru workshop and teach this technique in an intensive course designed for Mr. Jahongir Ashurov that lasted four months.

On his return to Bukhara, he created a free workshop to teach Ebru to other Bukharan artists and art students.

Balbal has conceived and organized the project sponsored by IFEAC (French Institute for Central Asian Studies; Uzbekistan) and IRCICA (Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture).


J. Ashurov Workshop student

J. Ashurov teaching Ebru to workshop participants.


Learning Ebru

Ebru by J. Ashurov

An Ebru design by J. Ashurov

J. Ashurov J. Ashurov


  © 2009-2015 Balbal Corporation