This section will provide the information regarding
major styles of Islamic Calligraphy, their rules, alphabets, and scripts.
Thuluth was the medieval Islamic style of handwritten alphabet. Thuluth
(Arabic: "one-third") is written on the principle that one-third
of each letter slopes. It is a large and elegant, cursive script,
used in medieval times on mosque decorations. It took on some of the
functions of the early Kufic script; it was used to write surah headings,
religious inscriptions, and princely titles and epigraphs. It was
also used for many of the large copies of the Koran produced from
the 13th century.
Naskh, which means "copying," was developed in the 10th
century, and refined into a fine art form in Turkey in the 16th century.
Since then it became generally accepted for writing the Quran. Naskh
is legible and clear and was adapted as the preferred style for typesetting
and printing. It is a small script whose lines are thin and letter
shapes are round.
Riq'a, the simpler style of everyday writing is very economical and
easy to write. It is popular for writing both Turkish and Arabic.
The Diwani script is a cursive style of Arabic calligraphy developed
during the reign of the early Ottoman Turks (16th-early 17th century).
It was invented by Housam Roumi and reached its height of popularity
under Süleyman I theMagnificent (1520-66). As decorative as it
was communicative, Diwani was distinguished by the complexity of the
line within the letter and the close juxtaposition of the letters
within the word.
A variation of the Diwani, the Diwani Al Jali, is characterized by
its abundance of diactical and ornamental marks.
The Ta'liq / Nasta'liq / Farsi Scripts
Ta'liq is a cursive style of lettering developed in Iran in the 10th
century. It is thought to have been the creation of Hasan ibn Husain
Ali of Fars, but, because Khawaja Abdul Mali Buk made such vast improvements,
the invention is often attributed to him. The rounded forms and exaggerated
horizontal strokes that characterize the Ta'liq letters were derived
primarily from the Riqa' script. The ornateness and sloping quality
of the written line had roots in the Towqi script of Ibn Muqla (died
940). Designed specifically to meet the needs of the Persian language,
Ta'liq was used widely for royal as well as daily correspondence until
the 14th century, when it was replaced by Nasta'liq.
Nasta'liq was the predominant style of Persian calligraphy during the
15th and 16th centuries. The inventor was Mir 'Ali of Tabriz, the most
famous calligrapher of the Timurid period (1402-1502). A cursive script,
Nasta'liq was a combination of the Naskh and Ta'liq styles, featuring
elongated horizontal strokes and exaggerated rounded forms. The diacritical
marks were casually placed, and the lines were flowing rather than straight.
Nasta'liq was frequently incorporated into the paintings of the early
Safavid period (16th century) and is traditionally considered to be
the most elegant of the Persian scripts.
Today, there are around 10 styles of this script being practiced world-wide.
But the most delicated form of this style is developed in Sub-continent.
At the end of 19th century, Persian style was the most popular style
of Nasta'liq in india but within next 30 years, there were three new
styles evolved from it. First of them is Nasta'liq Lakhnawi (Developed
in Lakhnau, India), Second is Dehelwi (Developed in Delhi, India) and
third is Nasta'liq Lahori (Developed in Lahore, Pakistan). Dehelvi Nasta'liq
was developed by Muhammad Yousuf
Dehelwi and Lahori Nastaaliq by Abdul
Majeed Parveen Raqam.
Kufic script, a heavy monumental Arabic script suited to stone carving,
appears in the earliest surviving Koran manuscripts. In these, the
diacritical marks over the letters are sometimes painted in red, and
the gold decorations between suras contrast handsomely with the heavy
black script. In the Seljuk period, a more cursive flowing script,
Naskhi, developed. The two styles were often used for contrast in
architecture and decorative contexts.
- Marwareed or Johar