marbling, in bookbinding, a process of coloring the sides, edges, or end papers of a book in a design that suggests the veins and mottles of marble. In tree marbling, as of tree calf bindings, the design suggests also the trunk and branches of a tree. In tree marbling, liquid colors are run over a surface bent to form a trough; the trunk of the tree is produced in the bottom of the trough. In other marbling, the colors are arranged on the surface of a liquid, and to this the surface to be colored is applied. The process of marbling was known in Japan as early as the 9th cent. A.D.; it reached Europe in the 17th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.