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 large piece of paper, constructed of a number of separate sheets pasted together, includes four lines of calligraphy in nasta'liq script. These lines specify that a certain Muhammad ‘Ali ordered the construction of a building intended for the commemorations (dhikr) services and mourning (matam) ceremonies of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn. Such a building is called a takiyah or takiyah-khanah, and was used for the staging of Shi'i passion plays (ta'ziyah) reenacting the tragic events at Karbalah in 680.

Calligrapher: unknown. Iran or India. 20th century. 67.4 x 95.5 cm. Nasta'liq script. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.

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