- Others have posted terrific comments on this issue. IIf someone tells me that they made a
"Non Pariel" I have to ask them just what they mean by that. Is it still a "non pareil' when
done in purple, teal and silver using acrylic paints? Even the old manuals will vary slightly
when it comes to the particulars. Another factor as that it is easy to get a little bit
ethnocentric when using exclusively English terms. What we call "shell" is "cailloute" in
french. Other patterns don;t really have a good English equivalent. For example, teh
French PersÃ©ille pattern. You can translate this literally as "parsley", but for some reason,
it seems a little odd to me.
I would like to add that in addition to Wolfe's book, I happen to like Einen Miura's book a
lot for two reasons. First off, the image reproductions are so much nicer than in Wolfe's
book. Second, it uses a polyglottic reference for the names, usually English French, and
German. Einen also felt strongly that the print quality of the Japanese edition of his book
is much better than the European editions. My only critique is that while he has provided
some of his sources in a short bibliography, it would be nice if he mentioned the sources
for the terms on the same page as the pattern is pictured.
I also think that looking at the samples in Woolnough, Halfer, and Pleger's manuals are
helpful. In addition, some pattern names are mentioned in the Etherington and Roberts
dictionary of conservation terminology online.
While unillustrated, the descriptions are helpful and will point you in the right direction.
Yet in the end, I think that we fuss a lot more over what is "proper" nomenclature a great
deal more today than our predecessors. Richard Wolfe reproduced a German decorative
paper sample book dating to 1720, where all the papers are named collectively "Turkische
Papier", whether it was a comb or spot. If you read Wolfe's book, you will learn how few of
the technical accounts or manuals provide very many pattern names before the 19th
Carinne Grevin (sp?) gave a wonderful presentation in 1992 at the San Francisco marbler's
gathering on the subject of marbling nomenclature. She worked on a large collection at
the Royal Library in Holland at The Hague. She pointed out that while many names may be
somehow "traditional" in one region or another, they do not really DESCRIBE the pattern
itself very well at all. She developed a fairly elaborate scheme for describing patterns that
take into account the color, tools used, and movements employed.
These problems are not restricted to Europe and America, for the same is true in Turkey as
well. Most of the terms used today in Istanbul date to the late 19th/early 20th century at
best, but we have no idea if they date back several centuries. The only pattern mention in
the oldest Ottoman manuscript Terrtib Risale-i Ebri is "hafif" meaning "light" or "pale".
The Persian biographical account of Muhammad Amin in the Gulistan- Hunar of Qadi
Ahmad (written 1596-1615) mentions that he made "various abri", noting the term "abri"
was probably used in general for all the patterns at that time.
The term 'aks, meaning "opposite", contrast" or "reflection" in Arabic, is the word from the
term "akkase" is derived. (It is derived from "Akkasah" in Persian. This term is neither
originally Turkic, nor does it mean "white bowl" as mentioned by Kagitci, Miura, and most
contemporary Turkish writers). "Akkase" refers to a "stencil" in a very broad and general
sense and is mentioned in old sources. It is also the term that was used for what we call
"Turkish silhouette papers" in English. You can see examples of both kinds of papers in
old alba amicora, or early autograph albums. An Indian artist named Anand Ram Mokhles,
a Hindu who worked for Akbar, mentioned kaghaz-i abri ("clouded paper") and kaghaz-i
'aksi ("stenciled paper") together as a rhymed pair of terms in his work "Mira't ul Istilah".
However today in Turkey the term "akkase" has come to mean something much more
specific than it did originally. Today it refers to a pattern made when a sheet of paper is
used to block out the the central area for calligraphy and leave a marbled border.
Originally this was simply a term for "stencil", but it has evolved into something much
more concrete in the last century.
I find myself using a combination of a traditional names, followed by a something a little
more descriptive for clarity.