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Calligraphy - An Overview

Updated on November 6, 2012

Calligraphy - An Overview


The word “Calligraphy” means beautiful handwriting. It’s derived from two Greek words, “kallos” and “graphos”. You just need a plain sheet of paper and ink to create a world of your own. However, in this hi-tech era where it’s all about computer generated graphics and colored prints there are hardly a few buyers for an artistic handwriting.


The art of writing has its origins in Egypt where it started out with hieroglyphics and symbols. Evidence dates back to 3500BC when the cavemen used pictograms to convey their messages which later converted to ideograms. Later, phonograms or symbols that represented sound were invented. This script was written on clay, stone or wood. With the passing time, the Greeks started using papyrus and skins. Monks were the pioneers in writing and copying documents by hand.

Propagation of Calligraphy

Islamic art played a pivotal role in acknowledging the essence of calligraphy in society. The holy Quran is full of calligraphic inscriptions. Even their architecture symbolizes figurative paintings on the walls of palaces and mosque lamps. Two scripts, namely kufic and nashk were used to decorate the domes with poetic verses or list of donations for a visual appeal. Ornamental handwriting was used in various manifestations to transmit a text in decorative forms over different historic periods.

Calligraphy also remains an integral part of Chinese culture over the last 4000 years. They consider it as the means of expressing their physical and spiritual well being. A person’s handwriting tells a lot about his personality and intellect. International artists, like Picasso and Matisse also drew influence from Chinese calligraphy. Neighboring countries, such as Japan and Korea also give due importance to calligraphy by organizing contests and giving awards. In a nut shell, we can say that Calligraphy is a flourishing art throughout all Asian cultures and traditions.

Where all Calligraphy can be used?

Greeting cards


Business Cards




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