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Copper Calligraphy in Pakistan and the Islamic World.

Updated on June 21, 2019
Stephen P Signorelli profile image

Stephen P Signorelli has traveled the world and has studied the history and culture of many people and religions.

A beautiful example of the form.
A beautiful example of the form.

Copper Calligraphy

Copper Calligraphy, a centuries-old decorative ornamental writing art, comes from Greek civilization. The word calligraphy is also a combination of two Greek words, "kalli" (beautiful) and "graphia" (to write). Since the advent of Islam, his sacred book, the Quran, has been written on different media. The calligraphers of that time used many styles of writing to transcribe the manuscript of the sacred book. Since then, this art has become associated with spirituality and is the most popular form of the design arts in the Muslim world. After acquiring the status of the noblest of the arts, it has been decorated on the ceiling, outside, inside and domes of all the mosques, shrines, buildings and famous monuments of religious importance in Islam.

Note the intricate etchings are perfectly formed.
Note the intricate etchings are perfectly formed.

Importance of Calligraphy to Pakistan and Islam

Calligraphy is an important asset of Pakistani culture. The roots of calligraphy come from Islamic culture, as introduced for the first time by Muslims traders. It is the art of giving letters a harmonious and skillful expression. In Pakistan, they are now turning to drawings, the visual arts rather than words. The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad has an outstanding collection of Islamic calligraphies. It has inner and outer meanings that tell the hidden message of Islam in words.

Calligraphy in Pakistan is mainly available in Arabic because the Koran is in Arabic. Today, calligraphy goes from the handwritten letter to visual art. Calligraphy is widely used to prepare invitations, wedding cards and decoration centerpieces for interior decoration. It is also used to create certificates, birthday invitations, cards and other designs involving the writing of letters.

Flat ball pens are used for calligraphy, round pens and brushes are also used for some types of art of calligraphy. Steel brushes and metal-tipped pens are used for unique decorative purposes. Water-based ink is used for this rather than oil, as in paint. For calligraphy, the high quality paper used allows clear lines because of the consistency of the porosity.

Islamic calligraphy is associated with Islamic geometrical art on the walls and ceilings of the mosque, as in the renowned mosques of Pakistan. Calligraphy is the art of the spiritual world that reveals the expression instead of speaking. It is a highly recognized form of Islamic art because it originates from the language of the Qur'an. Pakistan being a Muslim state has great potential for Islamic calligraphy as a cultural term. Calligraphy is now passed letters to letters in visual arts and you will find it during cultural exhibitions.

Abdul Majeed, Abdul Rehman, Ustad Allah Bakhsh and many others have created miracles in calligraphy. Syed Sirableain Ahmed Naqvi, pride of performance, also called Sutifain Naqqash, was a world-renowned Pakistani artist known for his calligrapher and painter skills. He is considered one of the best painters and calligraphers ever produced by Pakistan. Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world where copper calligraphy is performed. But the most popular and used Perso-Arabic script is 'Nastaleeq'. In Persian and Arabic calligraphy, it has dominated for centuries, as well as naskh, kufi and riqa, other popular styles used to form the Urdu, Persian and Arabic alphabets.

note the subtle but harmonious beauty
note the subtle but harmonious beauty

A brief history of Calligraphy

If we focus on the subcontinent, the history of calligraphy can be divided into five major periods; from Muhammad bin Qasim to Mahmud of Ghazna (93-413 AH / 712-1022 AD), Mahmud of Ghazna to Zahiruddin Babur (413-932 AH / 1022-1526 AD), Mughal period (932-1275 AH / 1526-1857 AD )), British Period (1857 - 1947) and re-emergence after the independence of Pakistan (from 1947 to date). Before independence, the subcontinent experienced the golden period of calligraphy. It has been woven in the subcontinental culture so that each remarkable building of this period bears calligraphic impressions. The interior and exterior of these buildings decorated with calligraphic panels tell the glory of this art at this time. The calligraphers were the first guardians appointed to teach princes, princesses and children of the nobility. This magnificent patronage of royalty to calligraphers has made calligraphy a superior art and has enhanced the prestige of such artists in the masses.

But when the British arrived and the reign of Mughal ended, the royal treatment with this art and the artists also came to an end. Currently, art and artists have made a lot of changes to meet the needs of today's world. Calligraphy is no longer limited to pen and ink on paper. It is woven and included in paintings, sculptures and other works in two and three dimensions. New materials and supports are being tested by modern artists, but all have one thing in common. Love and reverence for the written word.

Masjid Wazir Khan, interior. Lahore, Pakistan.
Masjid Wazir Khan, interior. Lahore, Pakistan. | Source

Thank you for reading this article. This subject was a labor of love for me, and though I am by no means a scholar on it, I hope I piqued your interest in the subject matter. I encourage you to do more research of it on your own, as the art form is fascinating and the history colorful and timeless.

As always, comment below, follow me, and send me fan mail!

Have a great day!

© 2019 Stephen P Signorelli


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    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      9 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      It looks beautiful.


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