By Becky White Skene
"In Islamic sources the art of calligraphy is defined as "spiritual pattern formed by worldly tools." True to this definition, the art of calligraphy created with a reed pen and soot ink has continued its development through the centuries. In the system of Islamic calligraphy most letters change in form according to whether they are at the beginning, middle or end of the word. The fact that each letter can be written in many different forms created a wealth of variety and made it possible to develop endless patterns in writing.
For Islamic calligraphy, pens made from the reeds growing in swamps on river banks and lakes are used. The raw reeds, after having been cut, mature in manure so that they lose their dampness and become hard. When dry, the reeds take on a brown or black color, according to which kind of reed they are. The tips of these reeds are cut and sharpened with a knife on a bone or ivory pen rest called a makta, a 2-3 cm in width and 10-20 cm in length. Then they are ready for use. However, for fine writing such as naskhi and for long texts like the Quran, the hard, black thin branches of a tree that grows in Java are used most often. The Java pen is made of the branches of this tropical tree because these are stronger and the points do not wear out easily.
The kargi-pen (pike-pen) made of hard bamboo reeds is used for writing broader and larger letters. For very large latters when even the kargi-pen is insufficient, pens made of wood, cut in size according to wish and called tree or wood pens, have been produced. The shapes of pens change in accordance with the different styles of calligraphy. For example, the taliq pen has a more curved point than the thuluth pen. The naskhi pen is less curved and the riqa pen is almost straight. The pens are sometimes kepts in long boxes called divit (pen-cases) with ink-wells on their sides, sometimes in cylinder or trunk-shaped boxes called kalemdan. The cylinder-shaped kalemdan is also known as kubar.
Calligraphers have written their works using soot ink. In addition to this black ink, specially prepared gold and colored inks have also been used. There is also a special tool with strung threads called a mistar, which is used to ensure that the letters in the lines are straight."
In this lesson, students will:
gain an appreciation of the various calligraphic styles.
design their name in elaborate calligraphy.
explain several reasons for the purpose of calligraphy.
Drawing paper, pencils, rulers, colored markers or pencils, gold and silver markers, reproductions of calligraphy designs, examples of graffiti
Ask " In what ways do members of our culture express themselves or advertise about their beliefs and ideas?"
Show examples of graffiti that were collected. (This could be a homework assignment for the students). Discuss the reasons that people ornament public spaces with graffiti. Answers could be written on the board. Question: When is graffiti not an art form?
Lead the class to develop criteria for evaluation of art (style, originality, self-expression, etc)
Define CALLIGRAPHY = "the art of beautiful handwriting; derived from the Greek Kallos beauty and graphien = to write."
Explain that CALLIGRAPHY is a form of self-expression and self-advertisement.
Questions: How can we compare calligraphy to graffiti? How is calligraphy a form of self-expression?
Review illustrations of calligraphy and ask students to practice the different styles (curvilinear, geometric, or floral)
Ask the students to draw their own name in one of the three styles and decorate.
Have the students share their designs with the class and give reasons for the style and decoration that they chose.
|Page from a Quran
section written in Muhaqqaq-Thuluth script.
|Muthalthal (Unbroken) Basmalah
from A Surat Al-anam (Quran VI)
|Calligraphy in Thuluth-Muhaqqaq-Naskhi
|The Tughra of Sultan Suleyman
|Hilye written in Rayhani-Thuluth
|Calligraphic painting in Thuluth script.
|Calligraphy exercises in Thuluth and
|Calligraphic painting in Thuluth scripts.
|Calligraphic panel written in Jali
State Standards Addressed by this Lesson
Develop observation skills to foster inquiry in geography.
Develop speaking skills in geography. (6200-0105)
Identify and explain the earths varied cultures. (6200-0402)
For additional online information see the following Web sites:
Turkish Culture - Calligraphy
Islamic Calligraphy - samples
Arabic Calligraphy The Art of the Pen
Author(s) Contact Information
Butler Middle School
7530 South 2700 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
|Web Site: http://users.sisna.com/bskene|
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