Introducing the art of Arabic, Ottoman, & Persian calligraphy

Calligraphy & Islam

Arabic script calligraphy began as a spiritual art—a vehicle through which to remember and contemplate God. It was first developed to write the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. Because this book was sacred, special care was taken in its transcription, and the art of calligraphy (“beautiful writing”) developed as a result. Calligraphy is one of the most revered and respected forms of visual art in the Islamic world.

Water fountain inscription found in Damascus, Syria. Photograph by Elisabeth Kvernen.

The Islamic context of calligraphy

This video gives an overview of how the religion of Islam has influenced the art of Arabic script calligraphy.