Purplish carmine colored lac pigment has been used in the ebru; this is hard to find as it is imported from India; Necmeddin Efendi heard that it could be found in a shop in the Spice Bazaar and set off to find the pigment. But that day is November 13, 1918 and after the ominous Treaty of Mudros on October 30, British and French Forces arrive in ships and start to lay siege to Istanbul. After buying the elac pigment, Necmeddin Efendi rents a small boat instead of taking the ferry from Bosphorus, trying to stay away from trouble and manages to evade through the soldiers as he goes from Eminönü to Üsküdar; he arrives at his home in Toygartepesi with difficulty.

After almost five years, the foreign forces leave Istanbul with their ships on October 2, 1923; watching this through his binoculars in his garden that overlooks the harbor, Necmeddin Efendi writes with joy:

Gel keyfim gel” in the jali taliq style in ebru. But, he yearns to use the lac pigment that he acquired with difficulty during the siege. Unwittingly, he writes the year as 1341 although it is 1342.

The Ebru with the writing “Gel keyfim Gel” made by Necmeddin Hoca with pleasure on the day enemy ships left Istanbul

When he takes the ebru out of the vat and puts it in front of him to look at it with appreciation, he accidentally spills his cup of coffee over the writing “Gel keyfim gel”. The stains on the writing are drops of coffee. For such an artist as Necmeddin Efendi, no better or more artistic revenge against the occupation forces that saddened all the Turks including him could be imagined!

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.

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