Joint Winner of the 2007 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for Middle Eastern Studies This stunning book is an important contribution to a key area of non-western art, being the first reference work on the art of beautiful writing in Arabic script. The extensive use of writing is a hallmark of Islamic civilization. Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, became one of the main methods of artistic expression from the seventh century to the present in almost all regions from the far Maghrib, or Islamic West, to India and beyond. Arabic script was adopted for other languages from Persian and Turkish to Kanembu and Malay. Sheila S. Blair's groundbreaking book explains this art form to modern readers and shows them how to identify, understand and appreciate its varied styles and modes. The book is designed to offer a standardized terminology for identifying and describing various styles of Islamic calligraphy and to help Westerners appreciate why calligraphy has long been so important in Islamic civilization.
The argument is enhanced by the inclusion of more than 150 colour illustrations, as well as over a hundred black-and-white details that highlight the salient features of the individual scripts and hands. Examples are chosen from dated or datable examples with secure provenance, for the problem of forgeries and copies (both medieval and modern) is rampant. The illustrations are accompanied by detailed analyses telling the reader what to look for in determining both style and quality of script. This beautiful new book is an ideal reference for anyone with an interest in Islamic art. Key Features * Written by the world's leading expert on Islamic calligraphy * Includes c.150 colour illustrations * Comprehensive: covers the art of calligraphy throughout Islamic civilisation, from the 7thc. to the present * The first volume to explain this art form to modern readers, guiding them in the identification, understanding and appreciation of its varied style and modes
Sheila S. Blair is the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College.
PART I: INTRODUCTION; Chapter 1: Arabic Script: Its Role and Principles; A. The importance of writing in Islamic culture; B. Principles of Arabic script; C. The Koranic Text; Chapter 2: Materials; A. Supports; B. Special papers; C. Pens and pen cases; D. Inks and inkwells; PART II: THE DEVELOPMENT OF ARABIC SCRIPT IN EARLY ISLAMIC TIMES; Chapter 3: The Standardization of Arabic Script; A. The origins of Arabic script; B. The development of Arabic script; C. The evolution of a calligraphic style; Chapter 4: Early Manuscripts of the Koran; A. Physical characteristics; B. Methodologies for dating; C. Considerations for further study; PART III: THE PREEMINENCE OF ROUND SCRIPTS IN THE EARLY MIDDLE PERIOD; Chapter 5: The Adoption of Round Styles; A. Round book script; B. The new style of broken cursive; C. Broken cursive and Ibn Muqla; D. The standardization of naskh and thuluth under Ibn al-Bawwab; E. What caused the canonization of round scripts in the ninth century?; Chapter 6: The Diversification of Round Scripts; A. The stylization of broken cursive; B. Other round scripts; C. Towards a codification of round scripts; D. Pairs of text scripts; E. Maghribi script; PART IV: THE EMERGENCE OF REGIONAL STYLES IN THE LATER MIDDLE PERIOD; Chapter 7: Calligrpahy in Iran and its Environs under the Mongols and Turkomans; A. The Six Pens under the Ilkhanids and Jalayirids; B. The Six Pens under the Timurids and Turkomans; C. The Hanging Scripts;; Chapter 8: Rectilinear and Curvilinear Scripts in Egypt and Syria under the Mamluks; A. Rectilinear scripts; B. Curvilinear scripts; C. Hybrid scripts; Chapter 9: Other Styles and Centers; A. Anatolia; B. India; C. The Maghrib; PART V: DYNASTIC STYLES IN THE AGE OF EMPIRES; Chapter 10: The Safavids, the Qajars, and their Contemporaries in Iran and Central Asia; A. Refinement of the Six Pens; B. Refinement of the hanging scripts; C. Pictorial writing; Chapter 11: The Ottomans in Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Eastern Mediterranean; A. The Canonization of naskh as text script Training, sources, and materials; B. The Canonization of thuluth as display script; C. The Hanging scripts; Chapter 12: Other styles and centers; A. The Mughals and their contemporaries in India; B. The Indian Ocean; C. The Maghrib; D. Sub-Saharan Africa; PART VI: THE MANY FACES OF ISLAMIC CALLIGRAPHY IN MODERN TIMES; Chapter 13: From traditional styles to calligraphic art and design; A. Traditional styles; B. Printing, typography, and computer graphics; C. Calligraphic art; Bibliography.