Arabic Calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting using the Arabic alphabet. Known in Arabic as khatt (Arabic: خط), which is a derivative of the words line, design, or construction. This ancient art form has become one of the predominant art forms in the Arab world. The inherent beauty of the Arabic language must account for this appeal.
Early Arabs were nomadic and their lives were difficult before the advent of Islam. Their culture produced prolific writing and poetry. Long before Islam, these nomads acknowledged the power and beauty of words. Poetry was an essential part of daily life. This delight in language and linguistic skills showed in their literature and calligraphy. They felt an immense appreciation for the spoken word and later for its written form.
This beautiful art form began to flourish during the first century after Islam. Kufic, see image to the left, was then the common style of calligraphy. Thus the first Qurans were in Kufic, the oldest form of the Arabic script.
Arabic-calligraphy.org displays many more examples and variations of this style. As these early calligraphy artists talents flourished several forms of Kufic script emerged.
An Art Form is Born
Arabic calligraphy master, Ebn-e Muqla’ Beyzavi Shirazi classified the different scripts. He also outlined a structure of rules and principles for each of the styles of calligraphy. He classified these calligraphic styles as “Aqlaam-e Setta” or “six Scripts”:
In coming posts, we will look at each of these calligraphy styles, as well as explore other Persian styles.