The birth of Qur'anic calligraphy was a major event in the early history of Islam. In a few decades, it raised the Arabs and their language from the remote fringes of the civilized world to its very heart.
Alain George brings together manuscripts, material culture and texts to reveal the evolution of Arabic calligraphy from its pre-Islamic conception through the emergence of the modern styles of writing still in use today.
The Rise of Islamic Calligraphy explores the resonance of the Ancient notion of proportion in Arabic script and breaks new ground in our understanding of a crucially important body of material: the earliest manuscripts of the Qur'an.
Alain George highlights the historical context of early Arabic calligraphy and its relationship to the emerging civilization of Islam, showing how a craft based on pen, parchment and ink came to convey the divine character of the Qur'anic text.
Beautifully illustrated, this is an essential reference work for students and connoisseurs of calligraphy alike.
About the author
Alain George is Lecturer in Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh. His primary field of research is the art and architecture of the early Islamic era, with a focus on calligraphy Umayyad religious art and the arts of the book.
What others have said about this book
“This book rises to the challenge of a grand theme - how did the early Muslims develop a fitting script and presentation for the word of God? Alain George presents, in lucid expository prose, bold but convincing answers to the many questions posed by this scattered and fragmentary material, especially on matters of date and provenance. An unerring sense of the bigger picture complements his mastery of detail and of earlier scholarship. This promises to be a classic.”
Professor Robert Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh and British Academy
“Charting the rise and demise of the angular scripts used in the first centuries of Islam, this is an exciting new contribution to the fields of early Islamic studies and art history.”
Professor Sheila Blair, Boston College and Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar
1st edition, 2010, hardback, 236pp, well over 100 plates the majority of which are in full colour, 23 x 28.7cm