The Art Of Oriental Calligraphy


  الخط الکوفی

The joy of nothingness ,where all artists depletion came from.  (christian Morgenstem1896)      




Kufi was the dominant priestly script in early times. It was created after the establishment of the two Muslim cities of Basrah and Kufah in the second decade of the Islamic era (8th century A.D.). The script has specific proportional measurements, along with pronounced angularity and squareness. It became known as al-Khat al-Kufi (Kufi script).

Kufi script had a profound effect on all Islamic calligraphy. In contrast to its low verticals, Kufi has horizontal lines that are extended. The script is considerably wider than it is high. This gives it a certain dynamic momentum. The script often is chosen for use on oblong surfaces. With its glorious Handasi (geometrical) construction, Kufi could be adapted to any space and material -- from silk squares to the architectural monuments left by Timur at Samarqand.

Because Kufi script was not subjected to strict rules, calligraphers employing it had virtually a free hand in the conception and execution of its ornamental forms.

The most unique variants of Kufic script are:

Al-Kufi al-Mukhammal:
The writing stands out against a background of floral and geometric designs superimposing the movement of the script over the movement of the underlying pattern.

Al-Kufi al-Muzahhar:
The flow of the words blends beautifully in a unique way with the movement of the stressed and dense vertical letters.

Al-Kufi al-Handasi:
The composition is based on the intertwining of geometric shapes -- including circles, squares, and triangles -- with the words.

These ornamental Kufic versions were applied to the surfaces of artistic and architectural objects including surfaces of stucco, wood, tile, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, and bricks.

 Kufic script is derived from "Hijazi Script", whose origin may in order be traced to "Hirian", "Nebtian" or "Anbarian".

Available petrography and existing documents, which belong to 7th century AD, indicate that in different kinds of irregular arabesque writing, Naskh and Kufic scripts, have been carelessly used and no rule or method was officially proposed to follow. The object has been only restricted to recording of written materials and their concepts, without paying attention to the elegance and artistic issues, which would have enriched those handwritings.

Such samples could be found in some available inscriptions on stone and in a few documents as well. But, when calligraphy was employed in the service of Islam for writing Koran, it entirely got changed and gradually paced in the path of perfection from viewpoint and aspect of art and elegance.

Its first style of Islamic period writing, in which the manifestation of art, delicacy and beauty are explicitly evident, is that of Kufic Script. As, it was developed in the city of Kufa, it is called "Kufic".

During the first three centuries of Islamic period (7th-9th century AD), Koran was practically written and recorded with Kufic script, while calligraphers of every zone used to use their personal style and taste in this sort of handwriting. The nibs of their pens might have been different from one another, or the tendency of vertical ribs of the letters towards left and right sides, together with some other invented differences exerted in the chosen letters, might have been characterized the style and place of writing. Thus, various ways of inscribing letters, like those of Kufic, Madani, Basri, Shami (Syrian) and Maqrebi scripts came into existence.

In spite of all these differences, so long as using of Kufic script, uses particularly restricted to Arabian peninsula, no significant changes appeared in the original forms of this handwriting. In fact, Kufic script could be known as the first and earliest calligraphy, used in writing many copies of Koran, which are still found here and there.





         An artist who is perfectly conscious,ceases to be an artist. Herry Muller1941        



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