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The surface of the paper could be sized (coated with starch) and rubbed with a stone until extremely smooth and glossy. (Parchment continued to be used until a much later date in the Maghrib).Another factor was the type of pen used, which was made from a reed.The first formal calligraphic style is called the Kufic style after the city of Kufah in Iraq.
The Qu’ran, too, was preserved by oral transmission until after the Prophet’s death when it was recorded in written form.
This required that the Arabic script be standardised.
Doing so will allow the sharp part of your nib to press down to the paper. To achieve thick and thin lines, you will go light on upstrokes and heavy on downstrokes. Practicing basic upstrokes and downstrokes is important to create individuals letters in our next lesson.
These subtle variations are highlighted in the following images.
This second group of Kufic styles was used in contexts as varied as Qu’ran manuscripts, coinage, architectural inscriptions and the decoration of ceramics.
While this second type of Kufic was being developed in the Middle East, probably in Baghdad, a new style was developed far to the west, in Muslim-ruled Spain or Morocco.Confusingly, the same name is also commonly used for a second major group of script styles, which came to prominence in the 10th century.These new, more angular styles came to include many fanciful variants such as foliated Kufic (decorated with curling leaf shapes) and floriated Kufic (decorated with flower forms).In general, calligraphic inscriptions on works of art comprise one or more of the following types of text: These types of text can be seen across all art forms.Since Muhammad's time, Arabic has become a great world language, used over a huge area as a language of religion, government, commerce, literature and science.The genius of Islamic calligraphy lies not only in the endless creativity and versatility, but also in the balance struck by calligraphers between transmitting a text and expressing its meaning through a formal aesthetic code.The Arabic language, and subsequently the art of calligraphy, is held in great esteem by Muslims because Arabic was the language in which the Qu’ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.In time, the letters of the Arabic script, with the addition of a few new letter forms, were also used to write in Persian, Turkish and other languages, as well as Arabic.Although many dialects of Arabic were spoken in pre-Islamic times, and some are known to have been written down, most literature was transmitted orally.The new writing also appeared on the coins minted for Muhammad’s successors, the caliphs.Both the Dome of the Rock and early Islamic coinage use Qu’ranic quotations to declare Islam as the new monotheistic faith.