Iranian art

Persian Calligraphy; One of the most revered arts throughout history of Iran

The art of calligraphy is one of the reputable and famous arts in Iran. The glorious art of calligraphy and its numerous decorations have always been praised by Iranologs.

The importance of the art of calligraphy among Iranian arts is such that some arts seem to be imperfect, without decorative calligraphy. Iranians more than any other nation have used various calligraphy to enrich and beautify earthen-ware, metallic vessels and historic buildings.

Calligraphy has been considered among the artistic symbols, letters and elements, which form the word, always bear undeniable esthetic qualities. Iranian Calligraphic Styles, such as Taliq, Nastaliq, Naskh, Thulth, Reqa, Towqi, Shekasteh, Kufic and decorative scripts, stands proud as charming among those of every other nation; particularly so, when those are adorned with illumination, which bestows hundred-fold prominence to their sublime forms.

Persian Calligraphy

Most of the handwritten books of Iran specially the Holy Quran, and collections of poems such as Shahnameh, Hafez, Golestan, Boostan and Khayam have been recognized as precious artistic works because of their graceful and delicate calligraphy.

Indeed, Iranian calligraphy truly deserves such illuminations, and such a reverence; its masterpieces, when framed and set upon walls, bear all the attraction of great paintings, affecting even foreigners. Thus, many of them are now lovingly collecting items of Persian Calligraphy.

These books possess extraordinary value and importance for the art experts all around the world. The art of calligraphy in Iran has a long history. This history includes the opposition of writing in Iran and its process of evolution from the ancient times till the Islamic period and from this period till the present time.

Iranian Calligraphy

History of Persian Calligraphy

Evolution of various styles of penmanship, esthetic changes and developments of Persian calligraphy, assess essential esthetic variations, evaluate the degrees of evolution attained and discover the brilliant agility of Iranian Artist’s mind within the context of history, show that, although certain decays be more or less conspicuous in the course of history of calligraphy, this very beauty has kept it from annihilation.

Mind of the average Iranian spectator is basically familiar with calligraphy, so that, even though he (she) may not be a calligrapher Himself (herself), nevertheless has a close recollection of tradition of penmanship. This “recollection”, which bears extensive influence from the works of the immediately preceding generation, generally corresponds with the latest basics evolved by the present one, and thus has a relatively clear-cut opinion about calligraphic esthetics. Therefore, it is not so strange that this “recollection” may not deem a panel penned by Mir Ali Heravi (16th century A.D.).

Obviously, such a judgment is an unjust one; rather, to be fair, one should recognize and evaluate highs and lows of calligraphic styles by the criteria prevalent in their own time.

Romantic-couplet

In the Islamic period, Iranian artists put to work in various ways the Arabic alphabet to adorn mosques and holy constructions, wooden doors, earthenware and metallic vessels. The art of calligraphy flourished even more when the Holy Quran, Shahnameh, and other books were written and reached the highest degree of perfection during the next centuries.

During the Safavid era, virtuous Iranian calligraphers, invented all diverse forms of the Persian writing. Thousands of tablets, books and attractive handwritten pieces are available among the artistic works of calligraphy in Iran.

Iranians acquired great success in the art of binding books in various ways. The leather cover of these books was enriched in the most gracious manner by geometrical and floral patterns and various landscapes.

The art of illumination has had a great role in decorating these leather covers. Some of the most valuable handwritten books of Iran, with leather bindings are being kept in the “Metropolitan” museum, the “National Library of Paris”, the “Library of Munich” and some private collections. The calligraphy in these books is mostly accomplished by the great masters of this art.

Calligraphie persane

Writing is considered a tool for the comprehension of the contexts all over the world, but in Iran writing has made its way of becoming an estimable art.

Although art experts around the world are not much informed about the contents of the Persian handwriting, they tend to use Iranian calligraphy work to adorn their libraries and private collections. The expertise brought forth in Persian calligraphy expresses the most gracious artistic notions.

Calligraphy has been considered among the artistic symbols, letters and elements, which form the word, always bear undeniable esthetic qualities. Iranian Calligraphic Styles, such as Taliq, Nastaliq, Naskh, Thulth, Reqa, Towqi, Shekasteh, Kufic and decorative scripts, stands proud as charming among those of every other nation; particularly so, when those are adorned with illumination, which bestows hundred-fold prominence to their sublime forms.

Persian Poem

Nastaʿlīq Script

“Nas’taliq” is the most popular contemporary style among classical Persian calligraphy scripts. It is known as “Bride of the Calligraphy Scripts”. As a matter of fact, this calligraphy style has been based on such a strong structure that it has changed very little since that time. It is as if “Mir Ali Tabrizi” has found the optimum composition of the letters and graphical rules so it has just been fine-tuned during the passed seven centuries.

Nas’taliq is the most beautiful Persian Calligraphy style and also technically the most complicated. It has strict rules for graphical shape of the letters and for combination of the letters, words, and composition of the whole calligraphy piece as a whole. Even the second popular Persian calligraphy style i.e. “Cursive Nas’taliq” or “Shekasteh Nas’taliq” noticeably follows the same rules as Nas’taliq, with more flexibility of course.

Nastaliq

It is really important to note that unlike its ancestors, Nas’taliq follows natural curves. In other words, unlike Arabic scripts that follow logical/geometrical designs, Nas’taliq follows the nature and natural curves. There are a lot of resemblances found between the curves used in Nas’taliq and natural curves and a few examples are shown here. It is interesting that it may not be the preliminary intention of Mir-Ali or the others to write the letters in such a form that they look like natural curves; but rather later these similarities have been found. Therefore, it shows that it is because of the initial spirit of Nas’taliq and its tendency toward nature that it looks so intimate and beautiful.

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