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

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This calligraphic fragment is executed in fine shikaste (literally, "broken") script and includes an initial bismillah and chapters (surahs) 1 and 114 of the Koran. It is quite unusual to find Koranic verses executed in shikaste script. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Korans were written in naskh or nasta'liq, as these scripts were more legible than shikaste. For this reason, this particular fragment stands out as scarce proof that some Koranic verses were executed in shikaste in Iran during the 18th-19th centuries.

Calligrapher: unknown. Iran. 18th-19th centuries. 9.2 x 14.5 cm. Shikaste script. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.

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