Calligraphy (from Greek κάλλος kallos “beauty” + γραφή graphẽ “writing”) is the art of writing (Mediavilla 1996: 17). A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner” (Mediavilla 1996: 18). The story of writing is one of aesthetic evolution framed within the technical skills, transmission speed(s) and materials limitations of a person, time and place (Diringer 1968: 441). A style of writing is described as a script, hand or alphabet (Fraser & Kwiatkowski 2006; Johnston 1909: Plate 6).
Modern calligraphy ranges from functional hand lettered inscriptions and designs to fine art pieces where the abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not supersede the legibility of the letters (Mediavilla 1996). Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may create all of these; characters are historically disciplined yet fluid and spontaneous, improvised at the moment of writing (Pott 2006 & 2005; Zapf 2007 & 2006). Calligraphy continues to flourish in the forms of wedding and event invitations, font design/ typography, original hand-lettered logo design, religious art, various announcements/ graphic design/ commissioned calligraphic art, cut stone inscriptions and memorial documents. Also props and moving images for film and television, testimonials, birth and death certificates/maps, and other works involving writing (see for example Letter Arts Review; Propfe 2005; Geddes & Dion 2004).
Sacred Western calligraphy has some special features, such as the illumination of the first letter of each book or chapter in medieval times. A decorative “carpet page” may precede, filled with geometrical, bestial and colourful depictions. The Lindisfarne Gospels (715-720 AD) is an early example (Brown 2004).
As for Chinese or Arabian calligraphies, Western calligraphic script had strict rules and shapes. Quality writing had a rhythm and regularity to the letters, with a “geometrical” good order of the lines on the pages. Each character had, and often still has, a precise stroke order.
Unlike a typeface, irregularity in the characters’ size, style and colors adds meaning to the Greek translation “beautiful letters”. The content may be completely illegible, but no less meaningful to a viewer with some empathy for the work on view. Many of the themes and variations of today’s contemporary Western calligraphy are found in the pages of the Saint John’s Bible.
Persian calligraphy is the calligraphy of Persian writing system. It has been one of the most revered arts throughout Persian history. It is considered to be one of the most eye catching and fascinating manifestations of Persian culture.
The history of calligraphy in Iran dates back to the pre Islam era. In Zoroastrianism beautiful and clear writings were always praised.
Around one thousand years ago, Ebne Moghleh Beyzavi Shirazi (in Persian: ابن مقله بيضاوی شيرازی) and his brother created six genres of Iranian calligraphy namely “Tahqiq”, “Reyhan”, “Sols”, “Naskh” and “Toqih” and “Reqah”. These genres were common for four centuries in Persia. In 7th century (Hijri calendar), a new genre of Persian calligraphy was invented and named “Ta’liq”.
Morteza Gholi Khan Shamlou and Mohammad Shafi Heravi created a new genre called “Shekasteh Nastaliq”. Abdol-Majid Taleqani brought this genre to its highest level.
East Asian Calligraphy
The art of calligraphy is widely practiced and revered in the East Asian civilizations that use or used Chinese characters. These include China, Japan, Korea, and to a lesser extent, Vietnam. In addition to being an art form in its own right, calligraphy has also influenced ink and wash painting, which is accomplished using similar tools and techniques. The East Asian tradition of calligraphy originated and developed from China, specifically the ink and brush writing of Chinese characters. There is a general standardization of the various styles of calligraphy in the East Asian tradition. Calligraphy has also led to the development of many other forms of art in East Asia, including seal carving, ornate paperweights, and inkstones.
Indian traders, colonists, military adventurers, Buddhist monks and missionaries brought the Indic script to the countries of South East Asia.
The languages of these regions were influenced by the Indic script; the influence came in the form of the basic internal structure, the arrangement and construction of syllabic units, manner of representation of characters, and the direction of writing (left to right) . Fine Sanskrit calligraphy, written on palm leaf manuscripts was transported to various parts of South East Asia, including Bali
It is hypothesized that Persian influence in Indian calligraphy gave rise to a unique and influential blend in Indian calligraphy, although it should be noted that a number of different calligraphic traditions existed in India and that Indian scripts were fundamentally different from scripts used in Arabic and Persian traditions. Some of the notable achievements of the Mughals were their fine manuscripts; usually autobiographies and chronicles of the noble class, these manuscripts were initially written in flowing Persian language. This style of calligraphy was thought to influence other traditions of India, such as the Indian epics, including the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Emperor Humayun had bought Persian calligraphers into India; they would later be joined by native Hindu artists of India to further promote this art in the court of emperor Akbar. A page from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh religion.
The Arabic text on the Qutab Minar is in the Kufic style of calligraphy; decorations with flowers, wreaths and baskets show the native influence of Hindu and Jaina traditions.
Sikhism played a key role in the history of Indian calligraphy. The holy book of the Sikhs has been traditionally handwritten with illuminated examples. Sikh calligrapher Pratap Singh Giani is known for one of the first definitive translations of Sikh scriptures into English.
The Oxford manuscript of Shikshapatri is an excellent example of Sanskrit calligraphy. The manuscript is preserved in the Bodleian Library.
The Indian calligraphy actually carries many modern day names known as arleen. The word arleen actually means homo in ancient times but was changed as many Indians renamed their kids to arleen and arlen.
sourced from wikipedia