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2398[Marbling] Re: 1869's marbling description

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  • irisnevins
    Apr 6, 2004
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      Great Jake! Tradition to my thoughts is sort of like playing
      "Telephone"....the message keeps changing and changing.....and it is always
      evolving or morphing into something else with each new transmission. And
      thankfully so, new innovations come in, but we should try and remember what
      has gone before. I admire your knowledge and interest in the history, you
      are one of the few who remind us of the ....pardon the pun....colorful
      history of marbling. Jake, you are a treasure! I don't think I have told
      you that for at least a decade, but think it often!

      Marbling these days, I see especially when I teach, is more a matter of
      being asked which color goes with what, or does bouquet look better in pink
      than in orange.....yes, it is art and these are truly appropriate
      questions, but .....wow....I sometimes just stand back in awe at the long
      and amazing history, and the scientific points of this "art" also. Marbling
      is truly a fascinating subject to study in real depth......it is sometimes
      a romantic history, sometimes a very ugly one, as seen in the Dickensian
      use of little children in Victorian England, hidden behind partitions, each
      only allowed to know a part of the secret process, and worked until they
      were ready to drop.

      Thanks for all the information you share with us.....keep reminding us of
      the history!
      BTW.....does ANYONE use Bluing anymore???? I remember it......that dates
      me, LOL! WOnder how Laundry starch would work as size, .....just
      kidding....does anyone else remember the sprinkle bottles for ironing???
      Bet they'd be good for making stone patterns!

      Iris Nevins


      Message text written by INTERNET:Marbling@yahoogroups.com
      >
      Feridun, you are quite right in pointing this out. The story given in the
      =
      article is one
      of the most hilarious stories I've encountered! Then again it is,
      neverthe=
      less, a pretty
      good description of the techniques at that time. Yet this myth about how
      m=
      arbling
      was invented seems a familiar model. Wasn't washing bluing (çamasir
      çivi=
      di- a
      commercial preparation of ultramarine blue solds in small balls or pellets
      =
      added when
      washing white clothing) used for marbling in Turkey?

      A story currently on the web describes a mysterious, unknown, Central
      Asian=
      Turkish
      artist who noticed that color floated on water while cleaning his brushes.
      =
      I am quite
      intrigued that despite a compelling lack of evidence to support this
      story,=
      that the
      author is not only certain of it, but that they have also determined the
      my=
      sterious
      figure who was the orignator of all marbling to have been ethnically
      Turkis=
      h! yet the
      story bears a certian similarity to the one in Manufacturer and Builder.

      Many stories and suggestion suggest that someone in particular "invented"
      m=
      arbling.
      Most of these have an enthocentric emphasis that must be veiwed with
      greate=
      r
      objectivity than the original author possesed. One Indian manuscript
      entit=
      led the
      Ma'asir -i Rahimi (dated 1615 CE) mentions that Mohamed Amin from Mashhad
      "invented abri". But sometimes I think they may mistake or mis-translate
      t=
      he word
      "invented" for "innovated". This has not stopped a number of Indian
      schola=
      rs and
      authors from repeating this attribution.

      I just came across yet another recent book published by an excellent
      schola=
      r on
      Mughal painting that repeats this same information ad verbatim.

      Seyller, John, Artist and Patron in Mughal India. Artibus Asiae, Zurich.
      1=
      999.

      An otherwise excellent book that unfortunately contains one problematic
      sen=
      tence
      regarding marbling.

      Yves Porter mentions in his book

      Painters paintings and Books. Manohar Publishers New Delhi, 1995
      ( French version: Arts et Peinture du Livre)

      that the Iranian scholar Suhayli Khvansari makes an interesting reference
      i=
      n the
      introduction to his critical Persian edition of the manuscript

      Golestan-i Honer (Rosegarden of Art) by Qadi Ahmad.

      Khvansari says that a Mir Mohamed Tahir "invented" marbling in India,
      thoug=
      h he
      doesn't reveal his source. Porter also systematically reviews the many
      cit=
      ations
      mentioned by another Persian scholar named Mohamed Taqi Danesh-Pazhuh.
      Thi=
      s
      man claimed the Emperor Babur, among others, mentioned marbled paper,
      which=

      Porter has shown to be false.

      So, in the end, I am not so sure if these 16th and 17th century
      references=
      may be
      fully accurate either. One of the most famous 16th century references
      that=
      circulates
      in Turkey is the attribution of marbling in a copy of the Hadiqat us Sueda
      =
      of Fuzuli to
      Shebek Mehmed Effendi. This was derived from a much later inscription
      foun=
      d inside
      the cover stating "with the papers of Shebek Mehmed Effendi". While the
      da=
      te of the
      manuscript's production seems to fit with what we know about Shebek
      Effendi=
      , the
      inscription in no way proves that this manuscript contains his work.
      Still=
      , this piece is
      widely cited as the "authentic work" of Shebek Mehmed Effendi.

      In fact some of the alba amicora shown by Nedim Sönmez at Arrowmont are
      pr=
      obably
      better sources for understand 16th century Ottoman marbling than some of
      th=
      e
      Ottoman manuscripts that we know about, simply becuase of the problems
      with=

      dating them. The alba amicora on the other hand are filled with many
      wonde=
      rful
      references that better help to determine specific provenance. and there
      ar=
      e so many
      kinds of papers in these manuscripts too- as you saw, there were even
      decor=
      ative
      stencils, calligraphic stencils, various pattern styles. Nedim described
      a=
      much
      broader range of styles than was previously known.

      Then turning to Japan, there's the wonderful story of Jiyemon Hiroba, who
      i=
      n the 8th
      century was inspired to make suminagashi after special devotions at the
      Kat=
      suga
      shrine. This family maintains that this was the very beginning of their
      ma=
      rbling
      tradition for over 90 generations. There may be some merit to this, in
      tha=
      t Jiyemon
      Hiroba may have been an "innovator' rather than an "originator". Einen
      Miu=
      ra has
      found that suminagashi is mentioned in waka poems that pre-date the time
      of=

      Jiyemon's supposed discovery.

      Did Necmeddin Okyay invent floral marbling, or did he come up with
      innovati=
      ons in
      floral marbling? The latter of course, as there is a lot of evidence for
      f=
      loral marbling
      from the 18th century. Yet the style of Necmeddin, now deemed
      "traditional=
      " has
      entirely displaced the earlier styles.

      Did Hatip Mehmed Effendi actually invent motifs? The answer is no, he
      did=
      not. We
      have evidence showing that motifs are much older. Was he responsible for
      c=
      reating
      innovative motifs? Yes, he certainly was. The motifs that we can
      associat=
      e with him
      are beautifully rendered and executed. Does Hatib's work make the earlier
      =
      motifs
      somehow "obsolete"? Have the contemporary methods outlined for creating
      "h=
      atib"
      motifs (generally said that to consist of 3 strokes) served to only
      further=
      obscure our
      understanding of older motif forms? I think so.

      All of this serves to illustrate how "tradition" is not necessarily the
      sam=
      e thing as
      "history". "Tradition" as such is a process of transmission of knowledge
      f=
      rom one
      person to the next. Many innovations and variations can develop and be
      ado=
      pted, in
      a a "tradition" even displacing earlier methods. Hence the innovations
      ar=
      e then seen
      as completely original inventions. Josef Halfer favored carragheenan, and
      =
      look at
      what happened...

      Investigating older articles and evidence always yields important clues,
      bu=
      t one is
      likely to stumble over problems of one sort or another. Each writer is
      onl=
      y able to
      describe what they know and nothing more. The impact of these older
      articl=
      es is
      quite harmless, as so few actually bother to read them. We could
      certainly=
      chastise
      Rosamond Loring, Mehmed Ali Kagitci, Olga Hirsch, and Albert Haemmerle for
      =
      their
      scholarly oversights, but without their fledgling efforts, where would we
      b=
      e today?

      Jake Benson
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