Calligraphy Qalam: An Introduction to Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Calligraphy uses interactive tools to interest new audiences in the traditional art forms of Arabic, Ottoman and Persian calligraphy.

Written in Turkish, this folio is from a copy of the collected works of the last Timurid ruler, Sultan Husayn Bayqara (reigned 1470-1506), and is executed in a technique known as quita' (decoupage). Instead of writing in ink, individual letters are cut out of different colored paper and pasted on a contrasting background. The art of decoupage, which originated in late-fifteenth-century Herat, required tremendous skill, dexterity, and imagination.

Herat, Iran. 1490 A.D. 23.8 x 15 cm. Nastaliq script. Courtesy of the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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