Introducing the art of Arabic, Ottoman, & Persian calligraphy


(Pronounced “tao-kee”; Turkish–Tevki‘; Persian–Toqi‘)


  • “Tawqi‘ ” is derived from the Arabic verb, waqa’a, meaning “to sign,” because it was regularly used to write the signature on a ruler’s decrees


  • Most often used for scrolls, diplomas, royal documents and calligraphic tours de force
  • Used in ancient Persia for writing the final colophon of a book, showing the date and place of writing

Companion script

  • Tawqi‘ is most often written in conjunction with riqa‘, which is a smaller version of the same script


  • Developed in the 10th century
  • Refined by Şeyh Hamdullah in the 15th century
  • Gradually replaced by divani in the 19th century
  • Mostly obsolete today

Distinctive characteristics

  • A smaller variant of thuluth, its letters are somewhat more compressed and rounded
  • Letters that don’t connect on the left are often connected in this script (unauthorized ligatures), allowing it to be written with speed
  • Features proportionally shorter ascending strokes and shorter, more deeply curved horizontal strokes
Qur’anic verses
Tawqi’ and Persian naskh scripts. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.
Book of Prayers
Arabic in black naskh script, colophon in tawqi’ script. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Image gallery

View the full tawqi‘ image gallery