Arabic handwriting art

In time, the letters of the Arabic script, with the addition of a few new letter forms, were also used to write in Persian, Turkish and other languages, as well as Arabic. This required that the Arabic script be standardised. We know that the standard form of script was in use by the end of the 7th century. It was employed, for example, on the first surviving monument of Islamic architecture, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, built in AD

Arabic handwriting art

Come, O pen of composition and write letters. In the name of the Writer of the Well-preserved Tablet and the Pen! It is therefore not surprising that a comparatively copious literature about various aspects of Arabic calligraphy has been produced not only in Muslim lands but also in the West, since Arabic letters were known in Europe during the Middle Ages and were often used for decorative purposes.

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These letters were understood as exotic decorative devices, however, and only in the late fifteenth century was the Arabic alphabet first made accessible to German readers in its entirety.

Adler was the first to study the Kufic inscriptions on early coins.

arabic handwriting art

For a long time it was used in Western scholarship to distinguish merely between two major types of script—the so-called Kufi and the cursive hand, the latter type then subdivided into the western, Maghribi character and the style used in the Persian world, tacltqor nastaliq.

A debt of gratitude is owed to Nabia Abbott, who did the first independent study of the so-called Koranic scripts, published in It is remarkable that a scholar like Abu Hayyan at-Tauhidi in the early eleventh century still mentions twelve basic forms of Kufi, many of them named after the places where they were first used.

As used for early Ko-rans, Kufi is the liturgic script par excellence,12 as Martin Lings has shown with great clarity. However, it is more than doubtful whether any of the fragments preserved in the museums date back to the time of the first caliphs, as is claimed by their proud owners.

The earliest datable fragments go back to the first quarter of the eighth century; but it is possible that the recently discovered Korans in Sanaa, which are at present being inventoried and analyzed by a German team, may offer a further clue to the early development of writing.

Less problematic, of course, is the date of coins and of architectural Kufi.

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The very impressive, sometimes truly festive character of the oldest Korans—which were written in mushaf, that is, book form, as distinguished from the papyrus scrolls with profane texts14—may suggest that at least some of them were written tabarrukan, or for the sake of blessing, rather than for reading purposes.

They may have also served for the huffaz and qurra, who had committed to memory the Holy Book but wanted a written support. Diacritical marks and signs for vowels were added in the days of cAbdul-Malik in order to avoid misreadings of the sacred text;15 colored ink was used for this purpose, and thus the poets would compare such manuscripts to a colorful garden.

The number of known Kufi Korans and f ragments is remarkably great and increases almost daily, but no two of them seem to be completely identical in style. Often only three to five lines of black or brown letters fill the page, and the letters on the hairy side of the parchment are usually faded; as the poet says: After being full of glory the places became desolate desert, Like lines of writing when books are worn out.

The measurements of the early Korans vary as widely as those of later times.

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Whether such a pocket Koran was meant for a traveling scholar, an officer in the caliphal army, or a merchant is unknown. A famous example is the one whose greatest part is preserved in Tunis, fragments of which are found in Western museums.

It is written in golden letters on dark blue vellum, and one may assume that cross-relations with Byzantium may have inspired the artist, since the use of purple and other colored paper for official Byzantine documents is attested. Another possible source of influence may be Manichean art.

Mani appears constantly in Persian poetical imagery as the painter par excellence, and precious, lavishly decorated Manichean writing from Central Asia may have influenced the use of colored and gilded paper in some sectarian or mystical writings; that seems to be the case in the correspondence of Hallaj, which aroused the suspicion of the Baghdadi authorities.

If all the Korans now preserved in Tunis were written in Ifriqiyya, a flourishing school of calligraphy must have existed there during the first centuries of the Hegira.

It is in a vertical format, with five lines on pages measuring 45 by 31 cm. The first known example of eastern Kufi is dated Eastern Kufic Korans belong to a period when the art of the book had developed considerably, mainly because of the introduction of paper inand are frequently written on paper instead of vellum; the vertical format used for profane works was adopted also.

Diagonal lines became predominant; the high endings of t and k, utterly flat in early Kufi, assume elegant long strokes toward the right; and triangular forms become a distinctive feature of both the letters in general and the ending curves, which are sometimes filled with minute triangles.

The numerous examples allow a stylistic analysis that may help to answer the question whether the Kufic calligrapher carefully planned and outlined each of his pages or whether he was able to visualize the completed page and write it without previous modeling.

Eastern Kufi developed into a smaller variant used in numerous Korans written in eastern Iran and Afghanistan, of which the present owners usually claim that they are at least from the time of caliph cOthman.

This style, in ever more delicate form, continued to be used for such decorative purposes as chapter headings after Korans were no longer written in this hand. It still occupies a place in contemporary book decoration. Coins and seals offer some beautiful and finely incised shapes of letters that had to be fitted into a small round space, so that the shapes of these letters had to undergo some changes.Become an Arabic Calligraphy Artist from Scratch ( ratings) Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.

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arabic handwriting art

£ Calligraphy is the most highly regarded and most fundamental element of Islamic art. It is significant that the Qur’an, the book of God’s revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, was transmitted in Arabic, and that inherent within the Arabic script is the potential for developing a variety of ornamental forms.

In the first Islamic century, the art of calligraphy was born, and with it the trade or art of the calligrapher. The first formal scripts to emerge were from the Hijaz region of the Arabian Peninsula, most likely from the city of Medina.

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