Marble Paper. The marbled paper got to us through the silk route; it was known in China since the third century but it seemed that its appearance was first in Japan in the twelfth century where the technique was coined with the name “Suminagashi. The technique “Ebru” (cloudy) arrived from Turkey to be spread later on throughout Europe. It is possible that its craftsmen have been inspired by the Byzantine marble wall that Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is abound with.
In 1700, was used in France for binding and boxes – while, originally, was used for the binding of sacred texts, then bookbinding, brochures, plates with half-leather binding, leaf guard, jewel boxes, trunks, fans, books amicorum, gift box and dust-jacket books. With the exception of France, the technique was lost to be reused in Venice in the seventies.
The marble paper is a staining procedure that is based on a principle of incompatibility between two chemical substances. The technique consists in spreading two colours (oil or water) on a rubber solution that allows them to float on the surface without diluting or mixing and, therefore, lay on a sheet of paper to be amalgamated – and finally, with a particular comb, to give the typical effect of marbling in order to create always new and original effects. The bottom of the tank is then placed onto the sheet of paper so that the design is engraved.
The way that revolutionizes the manufacturing of marble paper is performed by the Hungarian Joseph Halfer in 1885. For the first time, he predicts the use of colours already prepared and the use of glue Carragheen instead of the tragacanth used until then.
Marble paper still used
Today, skilled craftsmen make use of this age-old technique for creating beautiful objects that you can visit in the best shops of the city.