Islamic Arts


Calligraphy has always held a pre-eminent position in Islamic art. As the medium of the Quran, being the word of God, Arabic script was accorded an exceptional status in Islamic society. In the absence of religious imagery, the written word became a form of visual expression, with inscriptions revealing the profound expression of God’s message in the most beautiful and precise of artforms. Calligraphy appears on all forms of Islamic art, from ceramics to metalwork to architectural decoration.
While the most important application of calligraphy remained the writing of the Quran, a number of other distinct and often highly sophisticated genres developed, associated specifically with the calligrapher’s art. These included album collections, writing on leaf skeletons, official calligraphy (such as the Ottoman ‘tugra’) and different formats for the writing of poetry.

Source:- “The Timeline History of Islamic Art and Architecture” by Nasser D. Khalili.

Calligraphy above:- ‘Levha’ or poem in Ottoman Turkish. Ottoman calligraphy by Circirli Ali Efendi (d. 1902 CE). Source:- Sakip Sabanci Museum Collection, Istanbul.
The Poem says:-
“I held fast to the skirt of purity and God’s pleasure forever.
I embraced the dust of the Prophet’s feet forever.
Perplexed and powerless was my response to the unexpected.
I found shelter in the court of God’s grace forever.”