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Wonders of abstract Arabic calligraphy
Mar 18, 2015
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Wonders of abstract Arabic calligraphy


Islamic calligraphy, or Arabic calligraphy, is the artistic practice of handwriting and calligraphy based upon the Arabic language and alphabet in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage. It is known in Arabic as khatt which derived from the word 'line', 'design', or 'construction'.


The development of Islamic calligraphy is strongly tied to the Quran' chapters, and excerpts from the Qur'an is a common and almost universal text of which Islamic calligraphy is based upon. Deep religious association with the Qur'an as well as suspicion of figurative art as idolatrous has led calligraphy to become one of the major forms of artistic expression in Islamic cultures.


As Islamic calligraphy is highly venerated, most works follow examples set by well established calligraphers, with the exception of secular or contemporary works. In antiquity, a pupil would copy a master's work repeatedly until their handwriting is similar. The most common style is divided into angular and cursive, each further divided into several sub-styles.


Instruments and media


The traditional instrument of the Arabic calligrapher is the galam, a pen made of dried reed or bamboo, the link is often in color and chosen such that its intensity an vary greatly, so that the grater strokes of the compositions can be very dynamic in their effect.


The Islamic calligraphy is applied on a wide range of decorative mediums other than paper, such as tiles, vessels, carpets, and inscriptions. Before the advent of paper, papyrus and parchment were used for writing. The advent of paper revolutionized calligraphy. While monasteries in Europe treasured a few dozen volumes, libraries in the Muslim World regularly contained hundreds and even thousands of volumes of books.


Coins were another support support for calligraphy. Beginning in 692, the Islamic caliphate reformed the coinage of the Near East by replacing visual depiction by words. This was especially true for dinars, or gold coins of high value. Generally the coins were inscribed with quotes form the Qur'an.


By the tenth century, the Persians, who had converted to Islam, began weaving inscriptions on to elaborately patterned silks. So precious were calligraphic inscribed textile that Crusaders brought them to Europe as prized possession. A notable example is the Suiare de Saint-Josse, used to warp the bones of St. Josse in the abbey of St. Josse-sur-Mer near Caen in north-western France.


The first development of Arabic Calligraphy started with the first written version of the Qura'n by Zaid Ibn Thabit during the caliphate of Uthman Ibu Affan (644-656). This version was writtne using the Jazm script, an early predecessor of the Kufi script. The development of the Arabic script continued during Umappad dynasty in Damasscus with one of its historic achievements of architecture and calligraphy, the dome of the rock mosque. (Qubatu - 1 S Akhra) in Jerualem, Khalid Ibu Al-Hayyaj wrote the script on this monument.


Moving forward, the Arabic Calligraphy continued to develop through the different ruling dynasties in Kufa of Iraq, Baghdad and Cairo. This era saw the emergence of different Arabic scripts, such as the Kufi, Thuluth, Naskh, Muhaqqa, Riqa'a and Tawql.


Arabic Calligraphy in Modern life


In Persia another script, called the Ta aleeq, was developed in the early ninth century that was later combined with the nask script ot form the Nesta 'Slee1. The evolution of Arabic calligraphy continued until the last dynasty of the Islamic empire, which was the Ottomon reign in Istanbul, turkey.


During this period more complex scritps have appeared, such as Diwani, Jeli Diwani, Tughra and Siyaqat.


In addition to these major evolutionary stages other developments have also taken place in various other pars of the Islamic empire in Spain, Morocco, India, Afghanistan and China.


Now that we have over viewed the history of Arabic calligraphy and learnt that each script, or group of scripts, have been developed during specific period of time.


In digital Era, modern designers and calligraphers are still using Arabic Calligraphy as an essential element of their designs and not only Arabic designers, but designers from al round the world, as we will see later on.


Source :  Ameer Faisal -