An ancient elegant writing style, calligraphy is revered for its artistic prowess. The harmonic and aesthetic formation of Arabic characters, created with a pen or brush ink are today highly sought-after as decoration for a wealth of environments.
The genius of calligraphy is in the endless creativity and versatility. Arabic calligraphy was born in the seventh century when Muslim scholars decided to write down the Quran. For the longest time calligraphy was used solely for this purpose. This is not the case today.
More than 1400 years later, Arabic calligraphy can be found everywhere across the globe. From city entrances to Islamic jewellery, the versatility of calligraphy is one of the art forms strongest points. There are five well-known and distinct forms of calligraphy. These are listed below:
The most widely-used calligraphy in Arabic script, the writing features a densely structured, rounded shape, completed with short horizontal stems. Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, is not written with barbed heads. One of the most popular scripts used by calligraphers of the Ottoman Empire, it was endlessly refined, and today is the most popular form of calligraphy.
It’s true that Riq’a was the most commonly-employed calligraphy of the Ottoman Empire, yet Diwani was created in the late 15th Century by Ibrahim, a calligrapher of Turkish and Persian origins. The most distinctive feature of Diwani is that the spaces in between the letters are used in a decorative capacity.
Highly angular writing, Kufi’s square appearance has a unique appearance. Developed shortly after the formation of Kufat and Basrah, the primary purpose of Kufi was religious. It has been hypothesised the reason for this is the geometrical construction of the calligraphy. Indeed, calligraphers are encouraged to experiment with employing this writing style.
Naskh is one of the earliest Arabic calligraphy styles, and one of the few styles considered to be suitable for the Quran to be written in. Easy to read and easy to write, Naskh has spread across much of the world. Typically written with short, horizontal stems, deep curves, considered spacing between the letters and notable vertical depth, Naskh is one of the neatest forms of calligraphy.
Popularly known as Nastaliq, Taliq is widely employed to write Urdu and Persian. Taliq is used extensively in literary works and jewellery, the calligraphy won’t be found in the Quran.
These five ancient types of Calligraphy are the most prominent in the wider world today. Having already survived 1400 years, the art form shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon.