- Hi Jake, I guess I'm writing to everyone, but to answer your question about
Oz's email... Oz returned to Istanbul last Saturday (8/3) after spending six
weeks in the states. He was in Washington representing Turkey as a glass
artist in Washington DC at the Silk Road Folk Life Festival (check out
website -- it was an amazing event). He spent the last two weeks of his
stay at my house in Danbury, CT, with several side trips including one to
Boston to visit Elaine Koretsky, who is an accomplished paper maker and
devoted documenter of the history of paper making. I don't mean to
digress -- I believe his email is just temporarily not in service. The
address at this point has not changed, but hopefully he will be back online
soon and you should be able to reach him. No doubt, he will be most
interested in what you have learned about the possibility of marbling
originating in Szechuan and I look forward to his comments. My immediate
response is, why not? However, I also feel that marbling probably
originated in several geographic locations simultaneously (and we do know
there are many places where marbling WASN'T). But it is too basic a concept
and at the same time too sacred for any one group to claim it. It's like
trying to claim God. Searching for the oldest documented information is like
unraveling the most wonderful and amazing treasure ball. It keeps pulling
you in deeper and deeper until you know you are at the source of a mystical
thing. I appreciate all the information you are sharing with us and look
forward to meeting you at the Gathering. Sincerely, Nelle (Tresselt)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jake Benson" <jemiljan@...>
Sent: Saturday, August 17, 2002 9:56 PM
Subject: [Marbling] Beware = Being Aware....
> Thanks again Milena, for your insightful posting (and generous kudos)!
> not sure if anyone I have ever taught has gone on to hang out their
> and teach. I think that by bombarding them with historic samples and
> images, as well as slides of contemporary work, the students get the
> picture. I always tell them that they need to take some time to develop
> what they're doing, and to investigate evidence for themselves.
> I must admit that I'm still embarrassed over comments I may have made 5-10
> years ago. There are so many points and bits of historical information in
> sore need of revision, which are unfortunately very appealing, pervasive,
> and extremely popular. I certainly helped to perpetuate many of these
> notions, for I believed everything that I was told, and more importantly I
> WANTED to believe certain things about marbling. However, when you try
> collect and compile information, you have to set what you want to believe
> aside, and let the evidence tell the story for itself. This is why I'm
> putting together a database to help catalog and compile all these tid-bits
> of info.
> So let me relate an event that happened THIS WEEK in my quest. I was
> to save this for the Gathering, but I think it should be shared with
> everybody on the list.
> For starters, I wanted early manuscript sources in the original languages,
> not only translations. Among other texts I want the CHINESE version of
> Wen Fang Si Pu. So, I ordered it through interlibrary loan, got it, but
> don't read Chinese. So, I was referred to Ms. Nancy Tomasko, editor of
> East Asian Journal at Princeton University to identify the passages in
> question. Ms. Tomasko is an excellent resource and teacher of Chinese
> bookbinding (this year she's teaching at Penland and The NY Center for
> Arts). I asked her to take a look at the original Chinese text of the Wen
> Fang Si Pu, which as it turns out is a COMPILATION (Nancy refers to it by
> the more scholarly term "Collectania" ) written by the Imperial Scholar Su
> Yi-Chien in the 10th century. The subjects that Su Yi-Chien wrote about
> culled from other sources. While it makes reference to several types of
> marbling (including floating color on a bath thickened with flour or
> beans), we still haven't found the ORIGINAL source for the entry! So we
> still have something to look for....
> The Wen Fang Si Pu garnered attention when it was mentioned in:
> Tsuen-Hsuin, Tsien, Paper and Printing from Part 1, Volume 5, Chemistry
> Chemical Technology , Science and Civilisation in China, Needham, Joseph.
> Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985
> By the way, Tsien is pronounced simply "Chen". Dr. "Chen" unfortunately
> not make a literal translation of the text in question. He gave a short
> "synopsis". Well, many writers since that time (including myself) have
> treated Dr. Chen's synopsis as a translation. There are many ambiguities
> what Dr. Chen related. The transliteration standard he used is different
> from that used today. Please note the spelling changes in this email, as
> this is how it should be properly transliterated today. Dr. Chen's text
> also made more confusing by his inclusion of 19th century decorated paper
> samples that are not necessarily the result of the marbling process
> mentioned in the text. Despite this, we still owe an awful lot to Dr.
> for drawing attention to the passage in the first place.
> The very first thing that Nancy told me is that the entries about marbling
> are mentioned in the 3rd "juan"- meaning roll, scroll, and "Chapter",
> is about paper: regional methods, materials, colored, block-printed,
> stencilled, cut etc etc. Within the 3rd "juan" the entries come under a
> heading about decorated papers in the province of "Shun". "Shun"
> corresponds to Modern-day SZECHUAN (!!!) Dr. Chen relayed this little
> fascinating, and important fact, but only at the beginning of his passage,
> before mentioning the passage about marbling. So it was easy to miss- but
> boy do I feel silly for not seeing it in the first place! Nancy also adds
> something to what Dr. Chen wrote- that another type of marbled paper is
> called "net" paper... as the design looked like a net. She also revises
> tranlation of "Drifting -sand notepaper" as t is possible to confuse
> and think that "Drifting Sand" refers to the Taklamakan desert in the
> etc etc. "Flowing Sand" is also an acceptable translation.
> So- did marbling originate in the SZECHUAN region? Now we have to look
> see if there is any evidence from that time which can relate to the text.
> There has been such an emphasis on the Silk Road, Central Asia, and
> Xinjiang, that we have failed to look beyond those boundaries. All of
> has been based on speculation, fueled by rumor, then mistakenly
> into a "fact" in the minds of many marblers. I think that the Silk Road
> an important CONDUIT- as trade happened amongst many different peoples,
> different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds for CENTURIES. The
> Road was a "two lane highway" after all. It is probably true that
> techniques went west VIA the Silk Road. But did it originate there as
> have proposed? Can we consider the Su Yi-Chien as a credible source?
> Well, the way I see it, we need to check his sources too.
> I also now hope that at the event planned for Xinjiang, that participants
> will be kind enough to highlight this important reference. Nancy is
> visiting China in the fall, and hopes to lean more about contemporary
> decorative paper making.... Interestingly enough, I tried to email Oghuz
> Han Tughrul at uygur13@... about this information, but it has bounced
> back. Does anyone have a current email for Oghuz Han? I'm sure he'd like
> to know this little tid-bit and about Nancy's work....
> In many ways, I might think that what I'm trying to do is something
> to what Su Yi-Chien did. A database is a tool for compiling information.
> I'm really not a scholar- in this case I owe it all to Nancy. We need to
> work with scholars when we do research and make historical claims. Nancy
> isn't a marbler, and wouldn't have thought to look at the text if I hadn't
> mentioned it. The practitioners of the craft play an important roll in
> getting the qualified professional to look at these references and
> substantiate what is in them. It is also important to verify
> as this has been some interesting and creative liberties taken in some
> instances. I can't tell you how many times I've run into this problem.
> Checking your source is an important part of scholarship- it NEVER hurts.
> Now I get to write Dr. Chen! and revise my summary and lecture for the
> This never seems to end! I'm always excited, surprised, and amazed at the
> complexity of the subject. It only keeps getting more complex, but also
> CLEARER with time. It also helps to use words like "perhaps" when
> discussing theoretical points in marbling history, lest someone get the
> wrong idea and come to believe that the theory mentioned is a fact... I
> certainly wished I used it more often 5-10 years ago....
> Jake Benson
> Benson's Hand Bindery
> Fine Custom Bookbinding & Conservation
> Hand Marbled Papers
> 1319 B Summerville Ave.
> Columbia S.C. 29201
> Phone: 803.799.1853
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
- Hello Everyone,
I tried to write to Oguzhan Tugrul at the email address:
It no longer works.
Anyone know where he is and what he is up to?
I thought he was going to be in DC for a while....
ps- I hear Hikmet Barutçugil is coming to Chicago- are there any
details about the event yet?
I found this English-language link, but none of the buttons work:
Then there are these Turkish language announcements:
Benson's Hand Bindery
Fine Custom Bookbinding, Conservation, & Hand Marbled Papers
1027 Brookwood Circle
West Columbia, SC 29169
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