Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy

Lectures & Editorials on Calligraphy

Archive for April 2007

Ancient Arabic Calligraphy Available Online on Library of Congress

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A collection of Arabic script calligraphy sheets dating from the 8th to 19th centuries is now available on the Library of Congress’ Global Gateway Web site at http://international.loc.gov/intldl/apochtml/.

During the late 1920s, early 1930s and 1990s the Library of Congress acquired a large collection of Arabic script calligraphy sheets. Almost all of the sheets were acquired from Kirkor Minassian of New York and Paris. The remaining sheets were acquired by the Library’s field office in Islamabad, Pakistan, with permission from the Pakistani government to acquire and export calligraphic materials belonging to a Pakistani citizen. The 355 sheets placed online are the vast majority of the Islamic calligraphic items in the Library’s collections, housed in the African and Middle Eastern Division. In a forthcoming final update of the Web site another 36 images of material from the 8th through 10th centuries will be added.

Calligraphy was a skill to be mastered, and it was heavily used to express religious sentiment and many other aspects of personal and cultural life. Calligraphic art developed gradually over the centuries and has been the subject of numerous studies analyzing its role in the faith, culture and art of Arabic-, Persian- and Turkish-speaking lands.

A majority of the calligraphy sheets in the collection are written on paper; however, a group of Quranic fragments from the 8th through 10th centuries are inscribed on parchment.
This collection showcases stunning examples of calligraphic art, including illuminated panels, albums and poems. In addition to the individual calligraphy sheets, this presentation contains essays on Ottoman and Persian calligraphic styles, an in-depth look at Quranic calligraphic fragments and an essay discussing some of the Library’s notable Arabic script calligraphy sheets and illuminations.

Among the most noteworthy items included in the collection are a page from an 8th century C.E. (first or early second century Islamic era) Koran, and pages from a 17th century Persian dictionary titled “Farhang-i Jahangiri.” The former item is written in the Hijazi form of the Arabic script, which is an ancestor of all the modern forms of the Arabic script. This Koran page is also important as an artifact of the earliest Islamic community. Scholars who have viewed pages from the dictionary speculate—based on the great beauty of the calligraphy and illumination—that these may be pages from the royal manuscript that was prepared for the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who reigned from 1605 to 1627.

These beautiful items have been housed in the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division since they entered the Library’s possession. Art historians, historians of the Islamic book and other researchers learned of their existence when they came to Washington to consult with specialists in the Near East Section. The collection of Arabic script calligraphy was truly one of the Library’s hidden treasures.

This digitization project began 2002 when Library of Congress management requested proposals for projects focusing on the digital conversion of underutilized collections whose use by researchers would increase by their existence in digital form on Internet. At that time Chris Murphy, the Library’s Turkish area specialist, and one of the individuals responsible for the manuscripts held by the Near East Section, proposed that the Arabic script calligraphy collection be given scholarly descriptions, digitized and mounted on the Library’s Web site.

This proposal was accepted and in a process lasting almost three years the Web site was created. The Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives engaged Christiane Gruber (currently assistant professor of Islamic art history at Indiana University) to create descriptions of each piece of calligraphy. Murphy worked with the Global Gateway digital team, which handled the technical side of creating the Web site.

Digitization of these materials accomplishes several goals. Hitherto unknown holdings of the Library are presented to the scholarly world. Each item is preserved digitally and the digital surrogate is there to be used by researchers. The actual item will be available only to those individuals whose research requires that they examine the original object. Furthermore, the introductory essays on the Web site give the general public a clear and concise explanation of Islamic calligraphy with an extensive bibliography about the subject.

Many of these pieces of calligraphy come from manuscripts that were disassembled in order to sell pages individually. As a consequence, manuscripts pages were often dispersed among several institutions. The creation of this Library of Congress Web site will, it is hoped, encourage these other institutions to digitize and make available their Islamic treasures. This, in turn, will enable scholars and institutions to use the virtual space of the World Wide Web to reconstruct important and valuable manuscripts that now exist in bits and pieces all around the world.
This online presentation of “Selections of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Calligraphy” joins other world history collections available on the Library of Congress’ Global Gateway Web site at http://international.loc.gov/. This Web site features the extraordinary international collections of the Library of Congress as well as those of its partners from libraries in Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Russia. The presentations for these five nations are bilingual—in both English and the language of the country represented.

The Global Gateway Web site also makes available such rare items as “The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake,” “The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook” and “Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection,” which documents ceremonial writings of the Naxi people of China, who write using the only living pictographic language in the world.

Photography/ Text © Chris Murphy, Turkish area specialist in the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress. Published in Library of Congress Information Bulletin, September 2006.

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

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Written by calligrapher

April 24, 2007 at 8:36 am

Seyyid Mehmed Bahir

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By Seyid Mehmed Bahir, dated 1279/1862 panel on paper of celi talik script.

Photography/ Text © Auction House Antik A.S.

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

Written by calligrapher

April 24, 2007 at 5:11 am

Hasan Riza Efendi (b.1849 – d.1920)

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Surface by Hasan Riza dated 1330(1911) panel of sülüs nesih script, prophetic saying (Hadith) with Besmele from Tay Collection

Photography/ Text © Auction House Portakal, Istanbul

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

Written by calligrapher

April 24, 2007 at 4:58 am

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections

Princeton has the largest collection of Islamic manuscripts in North America and one of the finest such collections in the Western world. The Princeton University Library holds some 11,000 volumes of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish manuscripts. While the world of Islamic learning is the chief emphasis, there are also illuminated Qur’ans, Persian illustrated manuscripts and miniatures, and other examples of Islamic book arts. Among the most famous examples of Persian painting are the 16th-century Peck Shahnamah and Muin Musavvir’s 1673 portrait of the Safavid-era painter Riza ‘Abbasi.For published descriptions of manuscripts, see (1) Philip K. Hitti, Nabih Amin Faris, and Butrus ‘Abd al-Malik, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Arabic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, Princeton Oriental Texts, vol. 5 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938); (2) Mohammed E. Moghadam and Yahya Armajani, under the supervision of Philip K. Hitti, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Persian, Turkish and Indic Manuscripts Including Some Miniatures, Princeton Oriental Texts, vol. 6 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939); (3) Rudolf Mach, Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts (Yahuda Section) in the Garrett Collection , Princeton University Library, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977); and (4) Rudolf Mach and Eric L. Ormsby, Handlist of Arabic Manuscripts (New Series) in the Princeton University Library, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). These four printed catalogs and the unpublished checklist supersede earlier printed catalogues or descriptions by Enno Littmann (1904), Nicholas N. Martinovich (1926), and Ernest Cushing Richardson and Nabih Amin Faris (1934). Thousands of additional Islamic manuscripts (including most of Princeton’s approximately 2,000 Persian and 900 Ottoman Turkish manuscripts) are described in the Preliminary Checklist of Uncataloged Islamic Manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library (2004). For a checklist of a recently acquired collection on Arabic calligraphy, go to William J. Trezise Collection of Arabic Calligraphy. For descriptions and selected digital images of Arabic papyri at Princeton, go to the Princeton University Library Papyrus Home Page. Early printed Islamica in the Rare Books Division may be searched online in the Princeton University Library Main Catalogue. For digital images of 277 Persian miniatures in five illustrated Shahnamah manuscripts, dating from 1544 to 1674, in the Manuscripts Division, go to “The Princeton Shahnama Project” at< http://www.princeton.edu/~shahnama/>The manuscripts include Garrett Islamic MSS. 56G, 57G, 58G, and 59G, which were the gift of Robert Garrett, Class of 1897; and the “Peck Shahnamah” (Islamic Manuscripts, Third Series, no. 310), which was bequeathed to Princeton in 1983 by Clara S. Peck, the sister of Fremont C. Peck, Class of 1920.

Contact

Princeton University Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, New Jersey 08544 USA
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Email: rbsc@princeton.edu
Tel: (609) 258-3184
Fax: (609) 258-2324

Photography/ Text © http://library.princeton.edu/

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

Written by calligrapher

April 24, 2007 at 4:03 am

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections

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Princeton has the largest collection of Islamic manuscripts in North America and one of the finest such collections in the Western world. The Princeton University Library holds some 11,000 volumes of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish manuscripts. While the world of Islamic learning is the chief emphasis, there are also illuminated Qur’ans, Persian illustrated manuscripts and miniatures, and other examples of Islamic book arts. Among the most famous examples of Persian painting are the 16th-century Peck Shahnamah and Muin Musavvir’s 1673 portrait of the Safavid-era painter Riza ‘Abbasi.For published descriptions of manuscripts, see (1) Philip K. Hitti, Nabih Amin Faris, and Butrus ‘Abd al-Malik, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Arabic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, Princeton Oriental Texts, vol. 5 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938); (2) Mohammed E. Moghadam and Yahya Armajani, under the supervision of Philip K. Hitti, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Persian, Turkish and Indic Manuscripts Including Some Miniatures, Princeton Oriental Texts, vol. 6 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939); (3) Rudolf Mach, Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts (Yahuda Section) in the Garrett Collection , Princeton University Library, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977); and (4) Rudolf Mach and Eric L. Ormsby, Handlist of Arabic Manuscripts (New Series) in the Princeton University Library, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). These four printed catalogs and the unpublished checklist supersede earlier printed catalogues or descriptions by Enno Littmann (1904), Nicholas N. Martinovich (1926), and Ernest Cushing Richardson and Nabih Amin Faris (1934). Thousands of additional Islamic manuscripts (including most of Princeton’s approximately 2,000 Persian and 900 Ottoman Turkish manuscripts) are described in the Preliminary Checklist of Uncataloged Islamic Manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library (2004). For a checklist of a recently acquired collection on Arabic calligraphy, go to William J. Trezise Collection of Arabic Calligraphy. For descriptions and selected digital images of Arabic papyri at Princeton, go to the Princeton University Library Papyrus Home Page. Early printed Islamica in the Rare Books Division may be searched online in the Princeton University Library Main Catalogue. For digital images of 277 Persian miniatures in five illustrated Shahnamah manuscripts, dating from 1544 to 1674, in the Manuscripts Division, go to “The Princeton Shahnama Project” at< http://www.princeton.edu/~shahnama/>The manuscripts include Garrett Islamic MSS. 56G, 57G, 58G, and 59G, which were the gift of Robert Garrett, Class of 1897; and the “Peck Shahnamah” (Islamic Manuscripts, Third Series, no. 310), which was bequeathed to Princeton in 1983 by Clara S. Peck, the sister of Fremont C. Peck, Class of 1920.

Contact

Princeton University Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, New Jersey 08544 USA
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Email: rbsc@princeton.edu
Tel: (609) 258-3184
Fax: (609) 258-2324

Photography/ Text © http://library.princeton.edu/

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

Written by calligrapher

April 24, 2007 at 4:03 am

The Harvard University Art Museums – The Arthur M. Sackler Museum

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Harvard’s collection of Islamic and later Indian art is small but magnificent. It comprises a broad range of works, from Samanid pottery and Mamluk calligraphy to Qajar lacquers and Ottoman textiles. The department is particularly strong, however, in painting. Its masterpieces, which rank among the finest in the United States, include a group of miniatures from the extraordinary 14th-century Great Mongol (“Demotte”) Shahnama, the Safavid master Mir Sayyid-‘Ali’s Night-time in a Palace, and the miniatures of the “pocket-size” Divan of Anvari produced for the Mughal emperor Akbar. The department also has one of the most important representations of Rajasthani painting in the world.

The over 2,500 items in the collection include: Paintings and drawings from the Arab, Il Khanid, Timurid, Safavid, Qajar, Ottoman, Sultanate, Mughal, Deccani, Rajput, and British India periods; Illuminations; Calligraphy; Qur’ans and other manuscripts; Ceramics and tiles; Metalwork, including arms and armor; Textiles and rugs.

The collection is displayed in thematically-oriented exhibitions in the Islamic Gallery on the second floor of the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

Mailing Address:
Arthur M. Sackler Museum,
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Photography/ Text © HAT SAN’ATI Tarihçe, Malzeme ve Örnekler, Istanbul. http://www.artmuseums.harvard.edu/sackler/index.html

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

Written by calligrapher

April 23, 2007 at 5:12 am

The Turkish Studies Department of Leiden University

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Turkish Studies

The Turkish Studies Department of Leiden University is one of the largest research and teaching departments in its field in Europe. It has a permanent staff of six, one of whom is permanently stationed in Istanbul and eight additional staff members with non-tenured positions. It offers BA,MA, M.Phil and PhD degrees.The department maintains links with the Turkish academic and intellectual world, resulting in a constant inflow of Turkish MA and PhD students. The Department offers a MA programme in European Studies jointly with Istanbul Bilgi University, and a MA programme in Turkish Studies with Sabancı University in Istanbul. These programmes are taught partly in Istanbul and partly in Leiden. The teaching is enhanced with regular guest lectures by professors from other universities from the Netherlands and abroad. The department of Turkish Studies combines expertise in the languages of the region with historically oriented research programmes. The department has strong national and international links, in particular with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London), the EHESS (Paris), the International Institute of Social History, (IISH, Amsterdam), and Bilgi and Sabancı Universities (Istanbul).

The Turkology Update Leiden Project (TULP) is a unique initiative of Leiden University’s Department of Turkish Languages and Cultures (until recently part of the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Islamic Middle East) and Projectgroup Computer Supported Education (COO). It started December 1997 and its first results were published on the World Wide Web by April 1998. The TULP-pages are continually updated and expanded; so watch out for News. TULP will provide a specifically Turkological introduction to the Web for Leiden University’s students of Turkology as well as for the general public interested in aspects of Turkey and Central Asia.

TULP’s main pages feature A Curricular WebGuide for Turkology, A Topical WebGuide for Turkology and Interactive Turkish Texts (in Dutch).

The Turkology Update Leiden Project(TULP)

TULP’s Database of Interactive Turkish Texts was developed as a tool for students, combining easily accessible vocabulary and idiom lists with the department’s grammar specialist D. Koopman’s grammatical and syntactical comments and references to his and Dr. Geoffrey Lewis’ Turkish grammar. In April 1998 -when TULP first went online- it consisted of three texts, but new ones will continually be added. It will be used in six of the department’s courses (Modern Turkish Grammar, Grammatical Text Analysis, Sentence Structure 1, Sentence Structure 2, Conversation A and Conversation B). The database is only of use to speakers of Dutch and requires a Java-capable browser.

Photography/ Text © http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/tcimo/tulp/topical.htm

JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption. JOC has made every reasonable effort to locate and acknowledge copyright owners and wishes to be informed by any copyright owners who are not properly identified and acknowledged on this website so that we may make any necessary corrections.

Written by calligrapher

April 23, 2007 at 5:04 am