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 calligraphic panel includes a letter exercise combining the letter "h" with all other letters of the alphabet starting with the letter "a" (alif) and ending with the letter "y" (ya). This particular exercise shows how an initial "h" letter must be connected to any number of subsequent letters or letter combinations.

Exercise books begin at least during the 17th century and are typical of Ottoman calligraphic practices. They were used as books of exemplars of calligraphy to introduce students into the practice of husn al-khatt (beautiful handwriting) and bear witness to the chain of transmission of calligraphic knowledge throughout the centuries.

Calligrapher: unknown. 18th-19th centuries. 14.9 x 25.1 cm. Nasta'liq script. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.

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