Calligraphy Qalam: An Introduction to Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Calligraphy

CalligraphyQalam.com uses interactive tools to interest new audiences in the traditional art forms of Arabic, Ottoman and Persian calligraphy.

This découpage panel in the shape of a closed altar piece includes a central roundel decorated with interlacing letters whose stems form a central six-pointed star. The round inscription is difficult to decipher, and may comprise a wise saying or a verse from the Koran. In the middle of the upper arch, a round hook suggests that it was used as a wall hanging.

The extractive technique of découpage is known in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish as qit'a, or literally "cutting out."

Calligrapher: unknown. 18th-19th centuries. Diameter of calligraphic circle: 15.1 cm. Découpage script. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.

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