Arabian art and calligraphy


Islamic and Arabian art is one of the most beautiful types of artwork. In ancient times the prosperity of the Arabian countries, with their harbor towns and caravan routes, depended entirely upon trade. Merchandise from Africa, India, and the Persian Gulf, together with frankincense and myrrh (for which Arabia was famous), were carried northward to Egypt and the Mediterranean, greatly enriching the cities and tribes through whose territory they passed. That’s why the style of Islamic art looks as if it’s a complex synthesis of various cultures.

Painting, writing, and calligraphy:


Arabic writing is done from right to left, and was generally written in dark inks, with certain things embellished with special colored inks (red, green, gold). In early Arabic and early Medieval, writing was typically done on parchment made of animal skin. The ink showed up very well on it, and occasionally the parchment was dyed a separate color and brighter ink was used (this was only for special projects). The name given to the form of writing in early times was called Kufic script.

The late medieval period was heavily influenced by China and introduced illuminated manuscripts, which were writings decorated with extremely detailed drawings and paintings – often with expensive ink. They are one of the most well-known types of Arabic art. Cursive writing became more popular during this time, and began showing up on different objects, like pottery and carved panels.

Illuminated manuscripts continued into the late Arabic period and also brought about the creation of albums, where drawings were combined with written work and bound into a book for a special person, like a king or sultan. Portrait painting also became popular at this time, and were created not only for the wealthier people, but peasants and merchants at well. Paper-making was also in full swing by now, due to the popularity of the illuminated manuscripts. And as you can see the art of Arabic Calligraphy continued evolving becoming an iconic art form for the Arabs.

July 28, 2016

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