Calligraphy, the art which combines images with the written word, is perhaps at its most brilliant in the Islamic world. Islamic calligraphy took its inspiration from Muslim belief in the divine origin of Arabic writing, the medium through which the Qu'àranic revelation to the Prophet Muhammad was recorded. In the early years of Islam the sanctity of Arabic writing was accepted among Arabs and non-Arabs alike, and its use in sacred and official texts gave rise to a wonderful profusion of scripts, and a calligraphic tradition that has flourished for over a thousand years - not only in manuscript decoration but in architecture, ceramics and painting.
The Splendour of Islamic Calligraphy, widely acclaimed on first publication as the most lavish and sumptuous study of its kind, provides a comprehensive and fascinating survey of the subject from its earliest origins to the present day. It explains with the help of numerous line drawings the geometrical and ornamental principles of calligraphy, and examines the interdependence of script and page decoration. It gives an overview of the many complex variations of this most graphic form of writing, and traces its evolution right up to its current expression in the painting of artists such as Shakir Hassan. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it contains outstanding examples of scripts - kufic, thuluth, naskhi and maghribi among others - in a series of magnificent photographs. Many in colour, and some showing enlarged details, these photographs reproduce in stunning detail a range of manuscript pages, paintings and other works of art to illustrate the supreme craftsmanship of Islamic calligraphy.
On the jacket: Detail of the title page of a work on culture and literature edited by al-Baghdadi, written in Maghribi
What Others Say
'Outstanding' - The Daily Telegraph
'Beautifully designed [and] informative' - The Financial Times
1st reprint of the revised and extended edition 2008, Hb, 240pp, 232 illustrations, 98 in full colour, 25 x 30.5 cm