Sheila S. Blair. Islamic calligraphy (2006)

Title:Islamic calligraphy
Author:Sheila S. Blair
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
Pages:XXXVII, 681
ISBN:0748612122, 9780748612123
File:PDF, 99.3 MB
Download:Click here

Sheila S. Blair. Islamic calligraphy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006, XXXVII+681 p. ISBN 0748612122, ISBN 9780748612123

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.


List of Figures … viii
List of Abbreviations … xix
Glossary … xx
Preface … xxv

Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1: Arabic Script: Its Role and Principles … 3
Chapter 2: Materials … 41

Part II: The Development of Arabic Script in Early Islamic Times
Chapter 3: The Standardization of Arabic Script … 77
Chapter 4: Early Manuscripts of the Koran … 101

Part III: The Pre-Eminence of Round Scripts in the Early Middle Period
Chapter 5: The Adoption of Round Scripts … 143
Chapter 6: The Proliferation of Round Scripts … 195

Part IV: The Emergence of Regional Styles in the Later Middle Period
Chapter 7: Calligraphy in Iran and its Environs under the Mongols and Turkomans … 241
Chapter 8: Rectilinear and Curvilinear Scripts in Egypt and Syria under the Mamluks … 316
Chapter 9: Other Styles and Centers … 365

Part V: Dynastic Styles in the Age of Empires
Chapter 10: The Safavids, the Qajars, and their Contemporaries in Iran and Central Asia … 417
Chapter 11: The Ottomans in Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Eastern Mediterranean … 476
Chapter 12: Other Styles and Centers … 534

Part VI: The Many Faces of Islamic Calligraphy in Modern Times
Chapter 13: From Traditional Styles to Graphic Design and Calligraphic Art … 589

Bibliography … 628
Copyright Acknowledgements … 659
Index … 665

About the author

Sheila S. Blair is the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art and the Boston College and Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair of Islamic Art, Virginia Commonwealth University.