Jake Benson of Leiden University is currently an NIT fellow researching in support of his dissertation "The Art of Abrī: Paper Marbling in the Islamic World".
He aims to recount the origins and early evolution of this art by translating more than seventy Persian and Turkish references and interpreting them in conjunction with surviving physical evidence to explain precisely how marbling became more technically advanced over time. By examining the morphological characteristics of different patterns, he also hopes identify and delineate specific patterns and ascribe them to different periods and regions, as well as relate them to specific materials and methods recounted in the technical treatises. The results of these investigations are primarily intended to better inform library and museum professionals curators, cataloguers, and conservators responsible for Islamic manuscript collections but will also hopefully serve to inform practicing marblers around the world about the history of this art.
Image: "Allusion to Sura 27:16", Manṭiq al-Ṭayr (Language of the Birds) of Farid al-Din`Attar (d. 1220) transcribed by Sultan ‘Ali Mashhadi in AH 892/1486 CE.