Here is a FANTASTIC article and creative presentation on the history of Arabic calligraphy, styles, time periods, and calligraphers. Sharing videos and moving images to keep the reader engaged, you move through time to the modern Arabic Calligraphers. You’ll be able to spend time on this article, as it is presented in arabnews.com, “Arabic calligraphy: Ancient craft, modern art”, written by Iain Akerman. Link is at bottom.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“The art of Arabic calligraphy has been enhanced and developed over the course of a millennia. It has written the word of God, helped preserve human knowledge and understanding, and borne witness to the destruction of Baghdad. It has been codified, stylized, and lent itself to abstraction. It has even struggled with the modern world and found renewed life in both art and typography.
Nowhere is calligraphy more revered than in Islam. According to Islamic tradition, God “taught with the pen, taught man that which he knew not” (Qur’an 96:4). No wonder the art of writing is both admired and cherished as a visual expression of faith.
Now it is being celebrated in all its forms, with Saudi Arabia extending the Year of Arabic Calligraphy into 2021 and UNESCO registering the art form on its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Arabic calligraphy is taking its rightful place at the heart of Arab identity. As the Iraqi calligrapher Wissam Shawkat says: “This is the one thing that is pure for us.”’
…”Kufic’s geometric elegance also meant it was well suited to architectural decoration, with one of its earliest known examples found in a 240-meter-long Qur’anic inscription inside Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock. The oldest, however, dates from 644 CE and is engraved on a rock near AlUla in Saudi Arabia, according to the Kingdom’s submission to UNESCO’s Memory of the World register. Known as The Inscription of Zuhayr, it is situated on an ancient trade and pilgrimage route between Al-Mabiyat and Madain Saleh and states the date of death of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.
However, the exact origins of Kufic and the scripts that preceded it are unclear. The Arabic alphabet is believed to have evolved from Nabataean, an Aramaic dialect used by a semi-nomadic Arab people who inhabited northern Arabia, the southern Levant and the Sinai Peninsula from around the 4th century BCE. Today, the Nabataeans are best known for the architectural wonders they bequeathed the world, including Petra in Jordan and Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia. What is less appreciated is their pivotal role in the formation of the Arabic script.”
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