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The Art of Calligraphy

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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Art of Calligraphy
    Posted: 17-Sep-2004 at 15:56

Mihrab of Oljeitu, Friday Mosque, Isfahan

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  Quote OSMANLI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2005 at 11:27

Tughra (Impariel Monogram) of Kanuni Sultan Suleyman

Above: Allah, writtain in Arabic script

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2005 at 06:18

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/printer_7223.shtml

INTRODUCTION: Calligraphy (from Greek CALLI or beauty and GRAPHOS or writing) is the art of beautiful and decorative writing. Calligraphy (in Persian: Khosh Nevissi) should be distinguished from epigraphy, which is the study of permanent inscriptions engraved in metal or chiseled into stone. The art of calligraphy, as today often created with a special pen or brush, is one of the reputable and famous arts in Iran. Many art experts have always globally praised the glorious art of Iranian calligraphy and its numerous decorations. The importance of the art of calligraphy among Iranian arts is such, that some arts seem to be imperfect, without decorative calligraphy. Iranians more than any other nation have used various styles of calligraphy to enrich and beautify books, metallic vessels, religious centers, holy constructions, historic buildings, and many others. Most of the handwritten books of Iran have been recognized as precious artistic works because of their graceful and delicate calligraphy. The calligraphy works of notorious and virtuous calligraphers of Iran are preserved as precious artistic works in museums and private collections all around the world.

EARLY HISTORY OF CALLIGRAPHY IN IRAN: Reliable evidences indicate that the ancient Iranians were familiar to the arts of epigraphy and calligraphy. A tablet in Hieroglyph writing discovered in the northwestern part of the Iranian plateau, belonging to the pre-historical period is a sign that the early inhabitants of Iran possessed inscriptive signs and methods. In archaeological searches of Sialk (the oldest ziggurat, tracked away in the suburbs of the city of Kashan, in central Iran), dishes and cylindrical seals engraved with the very first Iranian writings have been discovered.Diacono, the Russian scholar has called these documents as the [holy writings], and believes that they belong to the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. A precious collection of Iranian inscriptions is preserved in the Hermitage Museum of Leningrad in Russia. The cuneiform writing was invented by Iranians and honored later by Sumerians. In the 7th century BC, Medes for the first time in history invented a kind of alphabet consisting of 36 letters. William James Durant (American philosopher and historian and the author of the Story of Civilizatioin) has stated in his writings that Iranians with an alphabet of 36 letters used skins and pen to write, instead of earthen tablets. Handwritten manuscripts of Avesta, the religious book of Zoroastrians, were written with gold on skin. The numerous tablets available in Bisotoon, Pasargad and Persepolis display the symbols used by ancient Iranians for writing. These tablets are made of half-burned clay, bricks, stones, skin and golden and silver sheets. Some of these tablets are considered as samples of the art of calligraphy in the ancient Iran.

FIRST IRANIAN FAMOUS CALLIGRAPHER: In 642, when Iran became a part of the Muslim World, a new Persian alphabet, typographically similar to Arabic, was also developed. Since Iranians had inherited a rich and brilliant cultural heritage during Sassanian Empire, they started to beautify and decorate their own handwritings. The art of calligraphy flourished in Iran when many literary books were written and it reached to some degrees of perfection during the next century. It is speculated that the Iranian calligraphy attracted Caliphs in Baghdad and eminent Iranian calligraphers were invited to immigrate there to introduce this glorious art. Of course, there are some explanations behind these invitations. At the start of the Islamic era two types of Arabic script seem to have been in use in Arab World. One was square and angular and was called KUFIC (after the town of Kufa in Iraq, though it was in use well before the town founded). Kufic was usually used for the architectural decoration. The other, called NASKHI, was more rounded and cursive and was used for letters, business documents, and wherever speed rather than elaborate formalism was needed. The cursive scripts of Naskhi coexisted with Kufic lacked discipline and elegance, and they were not allowed to be used in writing and reproducing the holy book of Koran.

The only solution of the problem was, therefore, calligraphy. Iranian calligrapher, Muhammad Pur-Mukalla (reported as Ibn-Muqlah in some Arabic and Western literatures), along with his brother was invited to go to Baghdad and work there. The birthplace of Mukalla in Iran is unknown, though some researchers believe he was born in Shiraz, the capital city of the southern province of Fars in Iran. Mukalla (in Persian and Arabic: A man with a hat) was born in 886 when Nassr I of Samanids dynasty was in power. There is not much information on his early life, but it is reported that he was resided in Baghdad from 914 until 940 when he died. Mukalla must have been invited to go to Baghdad by Almughtader, the Abbasid caliph who was in power during 908-932. In Baghdad, Mukalla was first promoted as a Minister (in Persian and Arabic: Vizier) to Almughtader and then to his successors Alghader (932-934), and ArRadi (934-940). In addition to his office works, Mukalla was engaged with the art of calligraphy for which he developed a new system. His system became a powerful tool in the development and standardization of cursive scripts, and his calligraphic work elevated the previous cursive styles into a place of prominence, and made them acceptable as worthy of writing the holy book of Koran. Mukalla is cited as the Father of Calligraphy by many researchers. According to Professor Anthony Welch of Victoria University (British Columbia, Canada), Mukalla is regarded as a figure of heroic stature who laid the basis for a great art upon firm principles and who created the Six Styles of writing: Kufi, Thulth, Naskh, Rogheh, Deevani, and Taaligh.

In spite of those great achievements, Mukalla could not enjoy a happy life at the end. Three times Minister in Baghdad, Mukalla and his political struggle against court enigma were ultimately unsuccessful. After his replacement in 936, his property was confiscated and he was cruelly imprisoned. That was the time when Emaad-o-dowleh-e-Dailami of Buyyid family (in Persian: All-e-Buyeh) was in power in Fars province of Iran.

Unbelievably, Mukallas right hand was cut off, a dreadful punishment in itself, but particularly terrible for a celebrated Master of the Word! And after still more maltreatments, at 54 he died in the summer of 940. No authentic work in Mukallas hand is known to exist, but his principles are glorious and crystal clear.(Just for the record: After Minister Mukalla had been imprisoned by his enemies, and another Minister had defected in disgrace, ArRadi, being without resources, fell into the hands of an able but cruel ruler, Raik, for whom he created the position of Amir of the Amirs. And shortly thereafter, the opposition groups overthrew Ar-Radi. It should be also noted that from 945 to 1055 an Iranian family of Buyyid ruled Baghdad and most of Iraq).

OTHER FAMOUS CALLIGRAPHERS: After Mukalla, Helaal-e-Bawab followed his path. Bawab, possibly a native of Shiraz, was a student of Mukallas trainee. It is documented that he was employed in Baghdad and Shiraz during the late 10th and the early 11th centuries. Bawab gave more elegance and geometrical harmony to all Six Styles, especially to Naskh. He reproduced the writing of Mukalla so precisely that his employer in Shiraz, the Buyyid Amir Bahaa-o-dowleh (ruled 998-1012), could not tell the difference. The earliest copy of Koran written in Naskh script is the one that is kept in the Chester Beatty Library of Dublin, the capital city of Republic of Ireland, and it has been attributed to Bawab. He died in 1022.

And the list goes on: Among the numerous Iranian calligraphers, one may recall Mir Emaad, and his daughter Gohar Shaad, Mir Ali Heravi, Emaadol Ketaab, Zarin Ghalam, Noora Khosh Neviss, and many others.


Today, there are many people around the world that they may have not much information about the contents of the Persian handwriting, but they are very anxious to use the calligraphic works of Iran to adorn their libraries, halls, rooms, and private collections.

MANY IRANIAN PHOTOGRAPHERS, PAINTERS, AND OTHER ARTISTS HAVE ALSO ELEGANTLY ENRICHED THEIR ARTISTIC PRESENTATIONS WITH THE ART OF CALLIGRAPHY TO EXPRESS THE MOST GRACIOUS ARTISTIC NOTIONS!


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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2005 at 19:53

Appreciation of
The Art of Chinese Calligraphy

Go to Calligraphy's Home Page

Calligraphy is an art dating back to the earliest day of history, and widely practiced throughout China to this day. Although it uses Chinese words as its vehicle of expression, one does not have to know Chinese to appreciate its beauty. Because in essence, Calligraphy is an abstract art. While viewing a Western abstract painting, one does not ask, "What is it?" When viewing Chinese calligraphy, one need not ask, "What is the Chinese word?"
In this page, we selected single words from the works of many master calligraphers from the past to illustrate the astounding beauty of the art. Like all art, it is best to simply look at them for enjoyment. Do not be sidetracked with questions of theory, technique, etc. Do not worry about "What is it?"
Beside each work, a very short comment is given to describe its "style", based on the classical book of Tu Meng.

Tu Meng of the Tang dynasty (618-905) developed 120 expressions to describe different styles of calligraphy and establish criteria for them. The first 15 from his list, with explanations and English interpretations by Chiang Yee:

    1. ability, mysterious, careful, carefree, balance
    2. unrestrained, mature, virile, grace, sober, well-knit, prolix, rich, exuberant, classic


For a flavor of these different styles, look at the calligraphy of single words, as written by the past masters. The idea here is not to learn how to write with a brush, or what the words are, but just to look at them as an abstract art.

A single word written in different styles



A gracefully executed work has no peer.

Full panel-(100k)

By Si-Ma Kuang, Song Dynasty (1019-1086)



Bold yet fluid -

Full panel. From Ode of Mulan by [Mi Fei] [Mei Fei] (aka Mi Fu)



Formal

Full panel

By [Yan Zhenqing] [Yen Chen-Ching]



Balance

Full panel

By [Wu Ju]{Wu Chu]



Geometric

Full panel



By Zhang Ruitu (1570-1641)




playful

By Li Juan (b. 1713)




A carefree style has no fixed directions

By [Wang Xizhi] [Wang Hsi-Chih]. The character is Sui (to follow), in cursive style.
The movement of the strokes suggests speed, by a dancing rather than a racing speed.



A gracefully executed work



An exuberant work full of feeling and vigor.
Full panel

By [Wang Xizhi][Wang Hsi-Chih]



Lighting quick
Full panel

By [Dong Qichang] [Tung Chi-Chang]




A virile work in which strength is paramount.

The character is "mountain".

By [Zhang Zhengyu][Chang Cheng-yu] (1903-1976)

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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2005 at 19:54
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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2005 at 20:03
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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 23:04

 

Nice, awesome.

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  Quote Murtaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 17:37
 

Edited by Murtaza
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  Quote Murtaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 17:39
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  Quote Murtaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 17:40
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  Quote Murtaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 17:42

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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 18:52
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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 18:52
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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 18:56
zhuan(turned) style

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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Jun-2005 at 18:58
I wonder why only Chinese(including Korean and Japanese elements) and Arabic are stylized into calligraphy.
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  Quote baracuda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2005 at 05:56
VARIETIES OF OTTOMAN CALIGRAPHIC SCRIPT

1. Kufic. This is the oldest of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified of the old Syrian script. At the time of the emergence of Islam this type of script was already in use in various parts of the Arabian Peninsula. It was in this script that the first copies of the Qur'an were written.

Kufic is a form of script consisting of straight lines and angles. It is still employed in Islamic countries though it has undergone a number of alterations over the years and also displays regional differences. The difference between the Kufic script used in the Arabian Peninsula and that employed in Egypt. Algiers and Morocco is very marked.
Kufic is commonly seen on Seljuk coins ad monuments and on early Ottoman coins, its decorative character led to its use as a decorative element in several public and domestic buildings constructed prior to the Republican period.

2. Thuluth. This script made its first appearance in the fourth century of the Hegira. The straight angular forms of Kufic were replaced in the new script by curved and oblique lines. Various types of script invented later could be said to have been derived from Thuluth by the introduction of quite slight changes of form.
Some of the oldest copies of the Qur'an were written in Thuluth, later copies were written in a combination of Thuluth and either Naskhi or Muhakkak, while still later copies (after the fifteenth century) were written in Naskhi.

3. Jeli Thuluth. This term was applied to writings in Thuluth script when the point of the pen employed was at least one centimeter broad. This type of script was used in large panels and for inscriptions carved in stone on buildings or tombstones.

4. Naskhi. This type of script was derived from Thuluth by introducing a number of modifications resulting in smaller size and greater delicacy, It is written using a small, very fine pen known as a cava pen, which makes the script eminently suitable for use in book production. Naskhi was used in copying Qur'ans, Delails, En-ams and Hadiths. It was also used in commentaries on the Qur'an (Tefsir) and in collections of poetry (Divan). It was a very widely used form of script.

5. Muhakkak. This is a type of script derived from Thuluth by widening the horizontal sections of the letters in the Thuluth script. It was abandoned after the sixteenth century and only a very few panels and a number of Besmeles in Hilyes describing the virtues and qualities of the Prophet are to be found written in this script.

6. Rika'. This type of script could be described as a smooth, round, sinuous form of Naskhi. It used to be employed in the icazets awarded to students of calligraphy.

7. Tevki. This is a modified and smaller version of Thuluth. It was mostly employed in official state papers and documents.

8. Ta'Iiq. This is a type of script in which all the letters display a tendency towards curved and oblique forms. It was invented in Iran, and the finest writings in this script were to be found in Iran and Azerbaijan. It differs from Thuluth in so far as the spaces between the letters are not filled or decorated with signs or motifs, which has led some calligraphers to describe it as a naked" script. As a result of its bare simplicity it is a type of script in which beauty and perfection are very difficult to achieve. If we glance through the annals of Turkish calligraphy we shall discover that although there have been scores of calligraphers in every period who can write an acceptable Thuluth or Naskhi there have been very few calligraphers capable of writing an acceptable Ta'Iiq.


Calligraphic Inscription in Ta'liq Script,"The Prophet of Allah has proclaimed: Allah has ninety-nine names and he who can count them will enter paradise."

9. Jell Ta'Iiq. This is the name given to Ta'Iiq script written with a pen having a point measuring one centimetre or more. Large panels and inscriptions carved in stone are to be found written in this script. Turkish calligraphers displayed great skill in the use of this type of script, which was rarely used in Iran, and achieved very great beauty of from. A very fine example of this type of script is the inscription "Elkasib Habibulla" by the calligrapher Sami Effendi (1837-1912) carved in stone above one of the doors of the Covered Market opening out towards Bayezid

10. Divani. This is a more lively, highly decorated form of Ta'Iiq. From the time of Sultan Selim I onwards it was used by the Turks in writing out fermans (imperial rescripts) and its use in any other type of document was strictly forbidden.

11. Jell Divani. This type of script was invented by the Ottoman Turks and consisted of a more complex, ornately embellished and decorated form of Divani. It was employed only in important documents connected with the Sultan or the Saray. It was a rather difficult type of script to read.

12. Siyakat. The use of this type of script was confined to title deeds, estate and property registers and financial ledgers. It was invented by the Turks and was created with the express intention of keeping the title deeds confidential, as it was impossible for anyone apart from those initiated into the secrets of this script to decipher it.

13. Rika. This script was the result of a number of changes introduced into Rika' script. It was developed in response to the need felt for a practical everyday script that could be written with facility and rapidity. Before the introduction of the new Turkish alphabet this script was used in correspondence, petitions and official entries in State documents. Later it greatly improved in beauty of form.

14. Icaze. This is a rather more delicate form of Thuluth used only in icazets and in the signature sections of large documents.

15. Gubari. Gubar is the Arabic word for dust, and Gubari refers to a very minute form of script. It is used in the composition of minuscule Qur'ans and in writings set within other calligraphic inscriptions. It survived until the beginning of the twentieth century. A calligrapher by the name of Nun Effendi of Sivas produced a number of very fine compositions in this script, sometimes employing a variety of different colors.

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2005 at 17:35

Originally posted by Murtaza

Alev lion, it is beutiful...

And the discs in Aya Sofya Museum...

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 20:16

What do you think about it???

No Arabic, Pahlavi script, Sassanid period

 

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