Colors of Anatolia
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by artists Feridun Özgören, Güliz Pamukoglu, Niyazi Sayin and Eda Özbekkangay
Learn the painting/printing technique known as Ebrû. The artists will demonstrate techniques and answer questions related to this interesting art form.
Co-presented with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

Co-sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Foundation


Within the world of Islam there are many different attitudes towards the arts. For Sufis, those Muslims who follow a mystical path, creating art is itself a form of religious practice. The visual and musical traditions taught and performed at the Özbekler Tekke, a religious complex for Sufi orders near Istanbul, embody this idea. At this Tekke music, calligraphy, poetry, and particularly Ebrû, the art of paper marbling are cultivated, taught, and performed as part of religious practice.

Ebrû, with its swirling, decorative patterns, has a long history in the Islamic world. The earliest known examples of "free-style" marbled paper appear in mid-sixteenth-century pieces from India, Iran, and Turkey. The technique probably originated in China, coming to the Islamic world through Central Asian cities such as Samarqand, which already had a reputation for producing high quality paper, including a wide variety of decorated papers. Following the course of papermaking technology generally, paper marbling traveled east to west from China through major cosmopolitan centers such as Istanbul; it eventually came to Europe in the early seventeenth century.

Seven generations of master paper marblers have been trained at the Özbekler Tekke, founded by the Uzbek religious leader Sheikh Sadik Efendi in the early nineteenth century. From him a continuous teacher-student lineage has passed the tradition through his son, Edhem Efendi, to Necmeddin Okyay (1883-1976), to Mustafa Düzgünman (1920-90). His student, Niyazi Sayin, (born in 1927) taught the techniques to Boston-based Feridun Özgören. Özgören's student, Güliz Pamukoglu, is the most recent initiate. Each master has made innovations in the art, from Necmeddin and Düzgünman's marbled flowers, to Sayin's free-form designs, to Özgören and Pamukoglu's monumental calligraphies. In Istanbul the tradition continues, notably in the work of Fuat Basir and Eda Özbekkangay, Sheikh Edhem Efendi's great-granddaughter, who has worked to revivify marbling within sufi practice.


Sunday, October 29    1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Courtyard Gallery
Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Avenue, Boston