Preface to the book by David Roxburgh
Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur'an is an exhibition composed of folios and bifolios from the Qur'an. These examples highlight some of the chief developments in the art of calligraphy in the historical Islamic lands, beginning in western Arabia (the Hijaz), spreading south to the Yemen and north to the Near East, and on to points east and west in Iran, Egypt, North Africa (the Maghrib), and Spain from the seventh century to the fourteenth century. The folios illustrate several types of writing (from the Hijazi and Kufic scripts to the canonical "proportioned" scripts) and a range of aesthetic outcomes produced by their makers; in every example, the calligraphy and its composition conjure an impression of austerity and monumentality, no matter the actual size of the sheet.
The exhibition is staged as a complement to Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900, on view concurrently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Writing the Word of God, this book is intended as a primer for the general reader about the early artistic expressions that coalesce through the pious act of writing the Qur'an, Islam's divinely revealed and sacred text. The exhibition assembles selected loans from a private collection and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Generous support for the exhibition was given by Vahid Kooros, a tirelessly enthusiastic and enterprising supporter of Islamic art. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History Harvard University.
1st edition, 2007, Pb, 56pp, full colour throughout, 21.7 x 28 cm