Ebru, which is generally known today as a decorative paper art, is one of the oldest Turkish arts, but exactly where or when it started remains unknown. Ebru is an art from the realms of history, presenting to us a beauty that is full of love. It can be described as painting on water. Patterns are formed on the surface of water which has had substances added to it to increase the viscosity; the patterns are then transferred to paper. The results of this process are unique and it is never possible to achieve the same design again.
Those who have traced the history claim that the many hued Ebru that we know today was born in Turkistan in Central Asia, a place that was the center for many cultures. From the 17th century on, it became known as Turkish Paper in Europe, and from here the art of Ebru reached the rest of the world.
The Turks started to make paper in the 15th century. With their sensitive souls and their mystic personalities they became very advanced in the art of paper decoration. Ebru paper, especially those of a fine design, was first used as the background to important official state papers, a variety of treaties and the records of important events. It was used as a means to prevent the alteration of the document. The same logic can be found in the use of complicated designs on banknotes, cheque books, deeds and bonds used today. In addition, the edges of commercial registers were decorated with Ebru in order to prevent the removal of pages. Ebru holds an important place in the history of Islamic art; it was used alongside calligraphy and in publishing. Moreover, its mystic nature, that is, “the search for religious beauty”, led to its being used in many tekkes as a reflection of sufi thought.