Ebru began back in the 13th century in ancient Persia. From there it was passed on along the Silk Road until it reached Turkey, where it flourished and matured. At that time, Ebru was gradualy passed on from generation to generation. Nobody outside of these close-knit social circles had a chance to learn it. Today Ebru is included in the UNESCO heritage list and can be mastered by anyone. Even the most skilled Ebru artists never stop learning. Instead they devote their lives to honing their craft and seeking perfection.
One contemporary Turkish artist said about ebru: "We are exposed to a variety of modern diseases, including haste and expectecting material returns for all that we do. One of the most spectacular effects of our tradition, is that it teaches us to be patient. The story of ebru is about patience, hard work, and investment, without asking for something in exchange.
In traditional ebru painting (colour mixtures and prepared water), only natural materials are used. Natural colour pigments must be mixed with water, ox gall extracts, and a powder of plant components.
Originally ebru works were used for decorating books, documents, and as the foundation for calligraphy. Nowadays it mainly serves as interior art, and as a main performance piece.