The magic of Christmas

La magia del Natale

Florence and marbled paper

- "Memories? It was actually Christmas Eve."
- “Yes, the one from '76 when in that newly opened shop in Via Cavour we bought our first marbled paper box”.
- “They were selling beautiful, new things that had never been seen before.”
- “Of course, what an idea, the “marbling of paper”, we didn't even know what it was…and yet…”

It's true, a lot of time has passed since Il Papiro opened its first store.
The idea was born a bit as a challenge with a not simple objective: to recover and re-propose the marbling of paper by applying it to everyday objects so as to make them unique and particular.
We did a lot of testing on materials and research on the evolution of techniques over the centuries and that was how we realized how ancient and interesting this art was.

The first traces date back to the 11th century in the East, probably in Japan. Back then it included almost ritual aspects that favored a meditative dimension. Water was used as a base and calligraphic inks which were slid drop by drop onto the surface, thus forming concentric circles which, when the water rippled, created veins which were then transferred onto the paper once the sheet was placed on the surface.

Through India and Persia these papers then arrived in Turkey where the manufacturing technique was transformed. The Turkish artisans in fact made the basic liquid gelatinous with the use of gums and vegetable algae, thus giving more stability to the color and thus being able to use combs and sticks to create designs.

It is precisely with the name of Turkish papers that marbled papers conquered Europe in the 1600s and were used first as "writing sheets" and then in bookbinding.

Precisely because of the imitation of the veins of marble they gave it the term "marbled paper", in French "papier marbré", in English "paper marbling", in Spanish "papel marmolado", in German "Marmor-Papier".

Even though the first to produce them were the Germans and the Dutch, it was then the French who claimed the paternity of the "marbure". Macé Ruette, bookbinder of Louis XIII, was credited with the invention of marbled paper and was the first to use it on the flyleaves and endpapers of books.

The tradition of bookbinding then passed from France to Italy and in particular to the Florentine area where for centuries it was maintained and accompanied by the decoration of marbled paper.
The research on the materials to be used was long and demanding. However, sheets and sheets of tests eventually led to the creation of that magic that still today leaves us speechless every time we see the result of a marbled sheet.

Behind the amazement of those who watch this execution for the first time we are there, with our master craftsmen who manage to create apparently identical but different designs from each other and our workers who transform the decorated sheets with their hands into precious objects.

Today like yesterday, timeless unique pieces for a public who knows how to appreciate the work behind even just a small box of marbled paper.

Merry Christmas to all!

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