Marble paper

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Red marbled lining paper
MFA# 1976.654


A type of decorative paper prepared by mixing or dropping oil paints onto the surface of water, then swirling, and dipping the paper into the surface to produce a marble-like pattern. Marble papers were made in China over 2000 years ago. In the 12th century, Shinto priests in Japan made marbled papers as a divination tool. Two-tone marbling, or Turkish marbling was developed in Turkey and Persia in the 15th century. By the 17th century, paper marbling became popular in Europe primarily for use as book end papers.

Synonyms and Related Terms

marbled paper; suminagashi (Japanese for ink-floating); ebru (Turkish for two-tone marbling)

Resources and Citations

  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969