Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy

Lectures & Editorials on Calligraphy

Archive for April 13th, 2006

Museum Picks:The Metropolitan Museum’s Collection of Islamic Art

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The Metropolitan Museum’s collection of Islamic art, which ranges in date from the seventh to the nineteenth century, reflects the great diversity and range of Islamic culture and offers perhaps the most comprehensive permanent installation of Islamic art on view anywhere. Nearly 12,000 objects created in the cultural tradition of the world’s youngest monotheistic religion (Islam, founded in A.D. 622, means “submission to God”) have been assembled at the Metropolitan from as far westward as Spain and Morocco and as far eastward as Central Asia and India. While many of these objects were originally intended for decoration of a mosque or for use during worship, domestic and luxury objects in the collection reveal the mutual influence of artistic practice in the sacred and secular realms. In particular, the traditions of calligraphy, vegetal ornament (the arabesque), and geometric patterning are strongly expressed in most pieces on view.more

Copyright by MET

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Written by calligrapher

April 13, 2006 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Museums

Exhibitions: Sackler Museum – The Tablet and the Pen: Drawings from the Islamic World

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The Tablet and the Pen: Drawings from the Islamic World uses 28 examples from Turkey, Iran and India to explore the development of drawing as an independent artistic medium; as part of the process of design for paintings, textiles and metalwork; and as a catalyst for artistic experimentation. It emphasizes aspects of technique and illuminates the historical circumstances that affected the development of the medium and the increased demand for single-sheet drawings in the 16th and 17th centuries. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, through July 23.

Written by calligrapher

April 13, 2006 at 10:17 am

Art Editorials:The Arts of the Mongols

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The Arts of the Mongols

“A monstrous and inhuman race of men,” Mathew Paris called the Mongols in the 12th century. They “feed on raw flesh, and even on human beings,” he wrote in his history, Chronica Majora.” They are incomparable archers,…impious and inexorable men.”

Written by Shelia S. Blair

The Mongols themselves traded on this reputation to intimidate their enemies. “Our horses are swift,…our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains…. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations,” they warned the Mamluk sultan Qutuz. And in fact, the reputation was largely deserved. Genghis Khan was as brutal as he was brilliant, uniting disparate Turko-Mongolian tribes to form the most extensive land empire known to history, stretching from the Yellow Sea to the Caucasus Mountains. In February 1258, his grandson Hülegü sacked and burned Baghdad in one of the bloodiest conquests of the age, whose aftershocks shook the entire Islamic world.

Yet these efficient and ruthless conquerors also created, in the empire they won, what historians today call the pax mongolica, a century of peace and order so complete that it was said that a young woman could walk across Asia carrying a golden tray on her head without concern for her safety. During this period, approximately 1250 to 1350, unfettered trade linked the Mediterranean and China. This was the age of Ibn Battuta, William of Rubruck and Marco Polo, the most famous globetrotters of the Middle Ages.

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Written by calligrapher

April 13, 2006 at 10:11 am

Es-Seyyid Abdullah Efendi d. 1731

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Abdullah of Yedikule was the favourite pupil of the celebrated calligrapher Hafiz Osman Efendi, and we know from the register of calligraphers that he received his icazet in 1102 H. He achieved great beauty and perfection in his use of Thuluth and Naskhi and was awarded both praise and protection by Sultan Ahmed Ill. He produced twenty-four Qur’ans as well as a number of Enams, Evrads, Kit’as, Murak’kas and Hilye-i Serifs. He had a large number of pupils. Most of his works are preserved in the Nuruosmaniye Library. Abdullah Effendi was greatly loved and admired by his teacher. He used the name Seyyid to indicate that he was descended from the family of the Prophet. He bid farewell to this transitory world in 1144 H.

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April 13, 2006 at 9:56 am

Art & Leisure: Calligraphy – A Noble Art

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A Work by Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi

Calligraphy is more than handwriting. It is a "spiritual technique" that beaches out with grace and elegance to engage the eve, mind and soul…

Written by Kamel Al-Baba

In a broad sense, calligraphy is merely handwriting, a means of recording and transmitting information, sometimes clearly, sometimes not, but in most instances hastily and with little regard for its appearance. In the Arab world calligraphy is something more. It is an art—indeed the chief form of visual art—with a history, a gallery of great masters and hallowed traditions. It is an art of grace and elegance which inspires wonderment for its appearance alone.

What distinguishes calligraphy from ordinary handwriting is, quite simply, beauty. Handwriting may express ideas, even great ideas, but to the Arab it must express, too, the richer dimension of aesthetics. Calligraphy to the Arab is, as the Alexandrian philosopher Euclid expressed it, "a spiritual technique," flowing quite naturally from the influence of Islam.

For thirteen centuries the dominant influence in the Arab world has been the Islamic religion. Its sacred book, the Holy Koran, as the word of God revealed to Muhammad in the Arabic tongue, has inspired generations of calligraphars who have sought to reproduce its words with a perfection of style worthy of its contents. Islam has exerted also a more subtle, a more indirect influence on the development of calligraphy: by discouraging the graphic representation of human beings and animals it channeled the creative energies of Muslim artists toward other decorative arts, especially calligraphy. Because the Koran itself has always been the most widely owned and widely read book in the Muslim world, the incentive to produce beautiful transcripts of the work has been powerful and constant. And because the final product was portable and relatively durable, the art acquired status among a people with nomadic origins.

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Written by calligrapher

April 13, 2006 at 9:44 am

Posted in Arts & Leisure