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.

This calligraphic fragment includes an iambic pentameter quatrain, or ruba'i, composed by the famous Persian poet Hafiz (d. 791/1388-9). The text is executed in black nasta'liq script typical of calligraphic works produced in India during the 19th century. Drawing on the creative potential of the script, the calligrapher has chosen to superimpose certain letters in each line, thereby creating three columns of overlayed letters repeated over the four lines of text. The visual effect is balanced and artistic.

Calligrapher: Hafiz Ibrahim (attr.). India. 19th century. 19.5 x 11 cm. Indian nasta'liq script. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.

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