Calligraphy is the most ancient art that survives since the day human started keeping a record of th
An introduction to the art of calligraphy | Basics
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- Monday, 01 Feb, 2021
The word calligraphy comes from the ancient Greek language, and it means ‘beautiful writing.’ Moreover, the word calligraphy defines the art of assigning a certain form to the signs in an expressive, harmonious and proficient manner. To your surprise, the use of brushed for calligraphy roots back to China. The art became popular during the Han dynasty from 206 BCE- 220 CE. At that time, every man and woman needed to learn the craft. When someone reads the word calligraphy, the first image that pops up in mind is that fancy Quranic verses with the perfect blend of hues. However, there are different types of art of calligraphy.
Types of Calligraphy
As far as writing is just an expression, so are languages, and there are about 6500 languages around the globe. Such a large number, but you do not need to worry. There are only three types of calligraphy being practiced. It is on the basis of the alphabet types.
1. Western Calligraphy
2. Eastern Calligraphy
3. Arabic Calligraphy
Western scripts were adapted from Phoenicia in 1200 BC, which continued to evolve to the time. The rest of the western writings are adapted from Roman originals. By now, the scripts are Roman and late roman scripts, Insular and national scripts, Caroline and early gothic scripts, Gothic scripts, Italian and humanist scripts, and post-renaissance scripts.
Calligraphy gained importance in the 1600s when the French officials restricted the writing to only three basic writing styles such as Coulee, Rhonda, and Bastarda. The script was revived in the 19th century with Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements, and it continues to be practiced to date.
Eastern calligraphy refers to the East Asian region's calligraphy practices, mainly China, Japan, and Korea. The writing systems of Japan and Korea are all derived from the Chinese scripts. The graphics more influences the communicative ability of the Chinese scripts. Moreover, the Chinese hand has evolved, and now there are five main classes of East Asian calligraphy.
• Seal style – Zhuanshu
• Clerical style – Lishu
• Standard style – Kaishu
• Running style – Xingshu
• Cursive style – grass
The most amazing thing about the art of calligraphy in Eastern Asia is that each style depicts the set of historical and cultural situations it has transformed through. For example, the seal style is the oldest, and it is practiced with tools rather than a brush. It gives an idea that the script roots back to the times when there were no brushes. The running style indicates modern freedom and sophistication.
Disclaimer; I may sound biased due to my inclination towards the amazing scripts of Arabic calligraphy art.
Arabic calligraphy art is something that links with the faith in Muslims. Muslims use it as their tool of showing their love to God by writing his name. An amazing calligrapher from Iraq puts it in the best possible words, such as “This is the one thing that is pure for us.”
Like other calligraphy, Arabic calligraphy has evolved through time to write the Quranic verses in the best possible manner. There are five basic scripts in Arabic calligraphy as under:
Among these scripts, the Kufic style is the most primitive style of writing. It is named so because it originates from Kufa. It is mainly square, bold, and squat letters. The art of calligraphy from Arabs is rich in its implication. It has a defined style for reading, writing, and ornamental purposes.
By the way, Kufic is my favorite one with the symmetry.