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

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Riq‘a


(pronounced “Dee-wa-nee”)

Meaning

  • “Divani” is derived from the word “divan,” the name for the Ottoman royal chancery

Uses

  • Used in the Ottoman court to write official documents, including proclamation scrolls, edicts, land and title grants, appointments, correspondence, endowments, etc.

Timeline

  • Developed in the 16th century
  • Reached its artistic peak in the 19th century
  • Still in use today

Distinctive characteristics

  • Wide spaces appear between lines
  • Lines ascend upward as they move from right to left
  • When written in large (djali) form, the empty spaces in the script are filled with small dots in a veil of decorative detail
  • Letters and words that don’t connect on the left are often connected in this script (unauthorized ligatures)

Notes

  • Divani is difficult to read and write in its large (djali) form because of its extreme stylization and the number of unauthorized connections. This made Divani an ideal script for court documents, becaue it insured confidentiality and protected them from forgery
Divani image

Divani script.

Divani image

Divani script.

Divani image

Divani script.

Divani image

Divani script.

(Pronounced “rik-ah”; Turkish–Rik‘a; Persian–Riq‘a)

Meaning

  • “Riq‘a” is derived from the noun ruq’a, meaning “a patch or piece of cloth” because it was written on small scraps of paper

Uses

  • Originally devised to write Turkish for the late Ottoman bureauocracy
  • Used broadly across the Arab and Ottoman world for personal correspondence and handwriting

Timeline

  • Developed in second half of 18th century
  • Still in use today

Distinctive characteristics

  • A simplification of the divani script constructed from short strokes
  • Letters are more straight than rounded

Notes

  • Easier to learn and write than other scripts. Good script for beginners.
Riq‘a image

Riq‘a script.

Riq‘a image

Riq‘a script.

Riq‘a image

Riq‘a script.

Riq‘a image

Riq‘a script.