History of Calligraphy

Calligraphy, generally known as Arabic calligraphy, is a form of art that began in the Arabian headland as an important requirement for Islam to escape figures and pictorial references. It is also believed that it reached the subcontinent through Muhammad Bin Qasim in 712 AD. Nevertheless, since then, Calligraphy has been known to be one of the most noticeable and important features of Islamic art; it is commonly assimilated in design as well as architecture around the Muslim world. There is a great significance of this particular art form in Pakistan, a country that has numerous historical monuments significant to the Mughal period calligraphy and the birthplace of the greatest skilled calligraphers in the world.

Moreover, Islamic Calligraphy was originated as an Arabic script to preserve verses of the Holy Quran into exquisitely written form. Hence, it holds a spiritual charisma through passing on the divine message of the Holy Quran to the entire world. Profound connection with the Quran and using calligraphy as a source was also a vital medium of artistic expression in the Islamic world. Furthermore, ‘Kufi,’ the oldest form of the Arabic script, has a powerful angular feature that was being practised in the holy cities of Makka-tul-Muzama and Madina-tul-Munawara. After the spread of Islam, it was acknowledged as an official script and became very popular from the town of Kufa to other towns, and was known as the Kufic script. Therefore, the first handwritten photocopies of the Holy Quran were inscribed in the same script.

Also, if we talk about the regions where calligraphy is done, then it is so obvious that as compared to western cultures, the east has always focused on Naturalism, sustainability, and coherence with nature. The materials used in calligraphy, such as reed pens and dyes, are eco-friendly. There is also a concept of mysticism in this art; for instance, it has the power to preserve knowledge, and the ink is associated with the water of life that gives immortality, whereas human beings are compared to so many pens in Allah’s hand. Black, on the other hand, has been the basic ink but the varieties of colours used by calligraphers are exceptionally rich and diverse. The colours, including gold, silver, blue, green, orange, violet, yellow, and many other colours have been made from mineral and vegetable resources. The other ingredients are also Haldi, henna, pomegranate, beetroot, and coffee. The ultimate phase of the preparation includes draining the ink through silk.

Moreover, regarding the Pakistani culture, it is believed and has also been witnessed that the capability to write well is a symbol of good upbringing and comprehensive education. Therefore, Pakistan has produced great calligraphers, including Sadequain, whose art was considered to be unique. The poet/artist was a rebel, holding very close onto the values of love, seeking freedom and martyrdom as an inescapable fate. He was also very much inspired by the poetic and literary tradition of the ghazal (a long poem).

Calligraphy is indeed a very unique and beautiful form of art that needs to be preserved and encouraged so that its pure effect never disappears.

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