Calligraphy In Islamic Culture

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Register to read the introduction… The fluidity of calligraphy symbolizes the "intertwining" of stability and change that exists in the mortal world (Nasr 28). Islamic calligraphy has the appearance of a never ending line; the letters are all connected to one another and the writing seems to be constantly moving (Piostrovsky 29). The continual movement of the line "is one of the ways of manifesting [Allah] to this world" (27) and "projects the concept of continuity, of endlessness, of pluriformity" (29). The symbolism of calligraphy's visual motion is a specific quality that reflects its relationship to a religious …show more content…
Writing was widely used as a decorative element (Rosenthal 54) and became the "most important means" of ornamentation (Schimmel, Islamic 3-4). According to Khatibi and Sijelmassi, "the rhythmic movement of the way in which letters are joined and the harmonious nature of their forms combine to confer a sense of strength and elegance upon the buildings" (191). All aspects of buildings were decorated by painting or carving sacred text as art work (191). Mosques, madrasahs, and mausoleums were decorated with "both Qur'anic verses and historical dates" (Schimmel, Islamic 4). In fact, any place where man wanted to glorify God and Muhammad, the "splendors of calligraphy" were used to provide "the final touch of grandeur" to develop the reputation of the building (Khatibi and Sijelmassi 191). Kufic was the principal form (practically the only form) of calligraphy used in architecture until after the 10th century (196) and was significant in determining the age of early examples of calligraphic decoration of buildings. Islamic calligraphy played an important role in the decoration of significant architectural examples. …show more content…
So significant, in fact, calligraphy has begun to gain popularity again in modern times. The ancient art form is "undergoing something of a renaissance" (Parry, First 50) in Middle Eastern countries. Average citizens today are turning to calligraphic art "as a way of rediscovering their roots" (Parry, Calligraphy 54). The "tremendous upsurge in public interest in...calligraphy" (54) has even led to the exhibition of traditional and contemporary calligraphic works by 45 Islamic artists in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games (Ali 49). The modern rise in the popularity of calligraphy is proof of its absolute necessity in Islamic culture. Despite modern efforts to increase appreciation of Islamic calligraphy in western cultures, non-Islamic individuals still lack knowledge of this subject and many others concerning Islamic culture. This ignorance is causing contention between nations and peoples. During this time of potential war, more effort needs to be shown by both parties to understand and appreciate the parts of such different cultures. Learning the significance of Islamic calligraphy is just one of the many ways to improve understanding of a complex and foreign way of

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