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.

The inscription is executed in a number of different scripts, which are labeled by small notes in black ink immediately above or below the word to which they correspond. For example, the terms Khan Bahadur are written in rayhani script (khatt-i rayhan), 'Ayn al-Din in ghubar (dust) script (khatt-i ghubar), Sahib in afshan (gold sprinkling) script (khatt-i afshan), Madar al-Mahamm in gulzar (flower garden) script (khatt-i gulzar), and Riyasat Ditya Dama Iqbaluhu in mahi (fish) script (khatt-i mahi). The sheer variety of scripts, some of which include flower and fish motifs, reveals the calligrapher's mastery of the art.

Calligrapher: Hakim Sayyid Hamid 'Abbas al-Taqawi al-Bukhari. India. 18th-19th centuries. Various scripts. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.

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