Kakayi

The Art Of Oriental Calligraphy

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Arabic Writing and Calligraphy

The styles of Arabic Calligraphy

Arabic belongs to the group of Semitic alphabetical scripts in which mainly the consonants are represented. Arabic script is derived from the Aramic Nabataean alphabet. It is a script of 28 letters and uses long but not short vowels. These letters are derived from only 17 distinct forms, distinguished one from one another by a dot or dots placed above or below the letter. Short vowels are indicated by small diagonal strokes above or below letters. Written without dots and diacritical points, Arabic script looks flat and barren. But when the dots and diacritical points are added, the script come to life like a garden in spring.

The major six scripts known in calligraphy as al-aqlam al-sittah -- or as Shish Qalam in Persian and Turkish -- are cursive scripts. These scripts were first raised to the status of major scripts when they were subjected to strict calligraphic rules by Ibn Muqlah. The scripts gained grace and beauty at the hands of succeeding master calligraphers, in particular Ibn al-Bawwab (1022), the great Yaqut al-Musta'simi (1298), Shaykh Hamdullah al-Amasi (1520) and Haffiz Uthman (1698).

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"Calligraphy" means "beautiful writing" (or writing as a form of art). During the Middle Ages, the Muslims respected calligraphy as the highest art form because the Qur'an was written in Arabic and it represented the word of God. So calligraphy decorated the mosques and holy books of Islam. Writing was not only an artistic expression, it was a religious expression as well.

Over the centuries Arabic calligraphy expanded to include different styles of writing. Just like in English where there are many kinds of handwriting (printing, cursive, and even "graffiti style" writing), many respected writing styles in Arabic developed.

 

      

 (freedom ..?! ) in diwani script © 2008 

     Bamboo/ Reed Pens:

 From a traditional perspective, the reed pen carved from a dry bamboo stalk is certainly the essential beginner’s tool. The harder or more mature the bamboo, the less trouble it will give you once carved. Soft bamboo tends to absorb the water in the ink and the nib swells out of shape. Carving the pen is an art best learned in the traditional way at the hands of a master calligrapher.

 

1. Drop the bamboo pen on a table or flat surface, allowing it to roll till it stops. The side which is now facing the ceiling is the side you will carve.

2. In the side of the pen which fell face up, carve a hollow that is the length of the first digit of your thumb. As you carve, shave away some of the thickness at the tip of the nib, but make sure that you do not shave away so much that the nib becomes weak or paper-thin.

3. Gently and evenly peel the two sides of the hollow from the opening to the tip of the nib so they are smooth and the tip is the approximate width you desire.

4. Make a vertical slit in the nib. Locate the slit slightly right of center, that is, closer to what will be the point of the pen. This way the right-half-nib (the nib containing the point) is thinner than the left-half-nib. This allows a free flow of ink when you use only the point of the to write delicate strokes such as the point of the jiim, the tail of the waaw, or the vowel markings fatHa, Damma, and kasra.

5. Make a small round hole at the base of the vertical slit. The hole stores ink, allowing it to flow evenly through the slit of the tip as you write.

6. Cut the tip of the nib at the desired angle (usually 35-40 degrees) as follows:

- Place the hollowed nib of the pen upon the edge of a flat table or wooden box.

The back or uncarved side should be facing the ceiling.

- Position the knife on top of the nib at an angle such that the right side of the nib will be pointed.

- Press down the knife, while holding the pen steady.

7. Peel a shallow .5 cm long indentation into the smooth back of the nib all the way to the tip.

8. With gentle vertical and horizontal strokes, sand the back and front of the nib, on fine sandpaper, so the tip is smooth. Now write the letters alif, baa, waaw, nuun, and a big yaa on sandpaper as if it were paper. Don’t write roughly or press down to hard! If you sense roughness or resistance when writing any of the letters, write them two or three times on the sandpaper until they can be written smoothly. When sanding a pen always hold it at the angle at which you would write the same letter.

9. Dip your pen in ink until the vertical slit and hole are covered, but no further. Wipe the nib on the cloth blotter and write. If any of the letters can’t be written smoothly, gently write them two or three times on the sandpaper and text again. Repeat this process until satisfied.

                                Nib Pens:

 Contemporary calligraphers most commonly use nib pens for their work. These pens consist of a steel nib inserted in a wood holder. Like the bamboo pens, they must be dipped in an inkpot. The nibs are available in many sizes, and you can get a much finer line than with a bamboo pen. When you buy a nib, the tip is completely flat. You must prepare it for writing by sanding a comfortable angle onto it. Once a nib has been prepared it can last for months if cleaned after every use and kept free of dried ink which stretches the nib-halves out of shape.

 

Following are instructions for preparing the nib:

1. Insert the nib in its holder and hold the pen as if you were going to write, but press one finger or your thumb against the nib between the hole and tip, so that the two teeth do not separate and are sanded unevenly, the pen will not write properly.

2. Holding the pen at the angle at which you could write and protecting the teeth with one finger, sand the pen from right to left and left to right several times. Since the nib is flat and you wish to put an angle on it, you will initially be sanding only the left or bottom half of the nib. As you continue, the nib will acquire an angle and both top (right) and bottom (left) teeth will be sanded. Examine the sandpaper as you proceed. You will know you are done when the sound of sanding changes and the horizontal mark from sanding is the width of the full nib. If you look at the nib now, it should be angled instead of straight. When held in writing position, the right tooth should contain the point of the pen.

3. Examine the pen with its back facing you and the hollowed concave side facing away. There is a slit down the nib which separates the two teeth. The slit should be slightly off center to the right, so the right tooth (with the point) is thinner than the left tooth. If the slit is directly down the center of the nib you must turn the nib on its right side and sand the right tooth several times from right to left and left to right on the edge of your sanding block. Sand until the right tooth (with the point) is slightly thinner than the left tooth. This allows ink to flow freely to the point of the pen when it is used alone for delicate strokes that do not require the entire nib width.

4. Gently write few letters such as alif, waaw, nuun, and yaa two or three times on the sandpaper. If you sense any resistance write them again until they can be written smoothly.

5. Test the pen with ink on paper. If any letters cannot be written smoothly write the again on sandpaper. Repeat this process until you are satisfied.

                                                                                                       

 VARIETIES OF 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 ic 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. Muhaqqaq.
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. Ruqa'.
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. Tewqi.
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.

9. Jali 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. Diwani.
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. Jeli Diwani.
This type of script was invented by the Ottomans 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. Siyaqa.
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. Ruqa.
This script was the result of a number of changes introduced into Riga' 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. Ijaze.
This is a rather more delicate form of Thuluth and naskh 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.

16. shikasta.The latest achievement in this domain was the invention by Iranian calligraphers of "Shekasteh Script", as a decorative Nastaliq, in 17th century AD. It was first designed by "Morteza Qoli Khan Shamlou and later systematized by Mohammad Shafi Hosseini, who signed "Shafia", but it reached to the top of its perfection a few decade later, with the advent of great genius Abdolmajid Taleqani (Dervish). He, besides devoting his stupendous creativity to perfect this exquisite script, also manifested considerable literary capabilities, leaving behind valuable works in this domain.

Dervish Abdolmajid Taleqani was born in 1737 AD. This illustrious artist spent his childhood in his native village, Mehran, near Taleqan, where he received his elementary schooling in local traditional school, "Maktab Khaneh".
He left his birthplace to perfect his talent. His childhood coincided with the decline of Safavid rule, when Iran faced with various difficulties in terms of economic stability and social order, which prevented the emergence of artistic creativity or the flourishing of arts.

                                   اسمی  بخط الطوق للخطاط المبدع الأستاذ ابراهیم ابو الطوق 

  My name in al touq scripts by the master calligrafer Ibrahim Abu Touq

 

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 VARIETIES OF 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 ic 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. Muhaqqaq.
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. Ruqa'.
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. Tewqi.
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.

9. Jali 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. Diwani.
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. Jeli Diwani.
This type of script was invented by the Ottomans 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. Siyaqa.
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. Ruqa.
This script was the result of a number of changes introduced into Riga' 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. Ijaze.
This is a rather more delicate form of Thuluth and naskh 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.

16. shikasta.The latest achievement in this domain was the invention by Iranian calligraphers of "Shekasteh Script", as a decorative Nastaliq, in 17th century AD. It was first designed by "Morteza Qoli Khan Shamlou and later systematized by Mohammad Shafi Hosseini, who signed "Shafia", but it reached to the top of its perfection a few decade later, with the advent of great genius Abdolmajid Taleqani (Dervish). He, besides devoting his stupendous creativity to perfect this exquisite script, also manifested considerable literary capabilities, leaving behind valuable works in this domain.

Dervish Abdolmajid Taleqani was born in 1737 AD. This illustrious artist spent his childhood in his native village, Mehran, near Taleqan, where he received his elementary schooling in local traditional school, "Maktab Khaneh".
He left his birthplace to perfect his talent. His childhood coincided with the decline of Safavid rule, when Iran faced with various difficulties in terms of economic stability and social order, which prevented the emergence of artistic creativity or the flourishing of arts.

                                                                                

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