Thursday, July 17, 2008

Persian Calligrpahy

source: The Middle East Interest

History of Persian Scripts: In the ancient Persia and in the different historic eras, languages such as “Ilami”, “Avestaaee”, “Pahlavi”, and “Farsi-e-Mianeh” were spoken. It is believed that ancient Persian script was invented by about 500-600 BC to provide monument inscriptions for the Achaemenid kings. These scripts consisted of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal nail-shape letters and that is the reason in Farsi it is called “Script of Nails” or “Khat-e-Mikhi”.Ancient Persian Script - “Script of Nails” or “Khat-e-Mikhi”Centuries later, other scripts” script such as “Avestaee” and “Pahlavits were created.

The Avestan alphabet or “Avestaaee” was created in the 3rd century CE for writing the hymns of Zarathustra. Avestan is an extinct Indo-Iranian language related to Old Persian and Sanskrit. Avestaaee script was related to the religious scripts of Zoroastrians’ holy book called “Avestaa” and unlike the nail script -that was carved on flat stones-Avestaaee script was written with a feather pen, usually on animal-skin pages. It is surprising that this script has similarities with Arabic scripts such as “Sols” and “Naskh” that centuries later were invented. However, unlike these scripts, letters in Avestaaee were not connected to each other to form a word but they just were written separately next to each other (similar to Latin scripts). However it wrote from right to left.

Old Persian Script: “Pahlavi” Script

Old Persian Script: “Avestaaee” Script

After initiation of Islam in the 7 th century, Persians adapted Arabic alphabet to Farsi language and developed contemporary Farsi alphabet. Arabic alphabet has 28 characters and Iranians added another four letters in it to arrive at existing 32 Persian (Farsi) letters.

Contemporary Persian Script: “Farsi” Script

Major Contemporary Classical Persian Calligraphy Scripts: “Nas’taliq” is the most popular
contemporary style among classical Persian calligraphy scripts. It is known as “Bride of the
Calligraphy Scripts”. As a matter of fact, this calligraphy style has been based on such a strong structure that it has changed very little since that time. It is as if “Mir Ali Tabrizi” has found the optimum composition of the letters and graphical rules so it has just been fine-tuned during the passed seven centuries. Nas’taliq is the most beautiful Persian Calligraphy style and also technically the most complicated. It has strict rules for graphical shape of the letters and for combination of the letters, words, and composition of the whole calligraphy piece as a whole. Even the second popular Persian calligraphy style i.e. “Cursive Nas’taliq” or “Shekasteh Nas’taliq” noticeably follows the same rules as Nas’taliq, with more flexibility of course.

Read more of this article in Curves of beauty: Persian calligraphy

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Story behind Olympic dancing man's seal of approval

BEIJING, July 7 -- One year after Beijing won the rights to host the Games, organizers launched a contest in a bid to find a special logo for China's largest public event.

As an art form, seal cutting imposes exact demands upon scholar-artists, in terms of calligraphy, layout and line. Seasoned advertising man, Guo Chunning, beat 1,300 other professionals with his entry - a powerful seal, which drew from history and reflected China's modern progress.

Seal cutting is a time-honored art among the literati and dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The Chinese character for a seal is composed of two words: zhua, which means hand, and jie, a tally issued by a ruler to generals or envoys as credentials.

The designer chiseled the English word "Beijing", and the Arabic figures "2008" together in archaic calligraphy styles.

Originally, dukes and princes handed a tally to their trustees to perform a difficult mission. The seal stood for conferment, responsibility and obligation. As a symbol for trust and promise, a seal paves the way for clear communication and authenticity of the message. Chinese believe winning the 2008 bid represented both the trust of the Olympic family as well as a promise made on behalf of the 1.3 billion Chinese people.

On July 13, 2001, the Beijing delegation solemnly proclaimed in Moscow that China would go all out to make the 2008 Olympic Games a phenomenal success. The unique seal serves as a testimony that "for the world's good faith in us, we shall requite with success and honor".

A Chinese seal is always red, which also symbolizes the burning Olympic flame. For millenniums, red has been the color for supreme happiness, widely used for grand or blissful occasions. This auspicious color was chosen for the national flag when the People's Republic of China was established in 1949. A seal was also part of a Chinese scholar's standard paraphernalia.

One's work must be rich in flavor, grand and lofty in taste, effortless in craftsmanship, and most important of all, the work should in itself be rich with meaning. The 2008 emblem is an amazing enigma for connoisseurs and veterans. For one thing, it looks like the Chinese character of wen, short for wenhua, which means culture or civilization. As one of the world's ancient civilizations, China contributes a rich legacy of sports.

Qigong and martial arts are but two of the most well-known varieties. Modern archery, shooting and skiing have evidently evolved from ancient Chinese recreation and sports.

The Olympic seal also resembles the Chinese character jing, which means Beijing, a city that has thousands of years of history. From a different angle, one can also see a girl dancing with a red silk ribbon. She is full of youthful vigor and feminine grace and is welcoming guests and athletes from all over the world. Another reading reveals a human figure sprinting to the finish line. He is celebrating Olympic athleticism and is the flower of life in full blossom. He is growing tall in the bright Olympic sun. The designer finally chisels Arabic figures "2008" together in archaic calligraphy styles.

(Source: China Daily)

Scribblers Guideline Generator

A great tool to help you practice the calligraphy alphabet. If you only have a spare 30 minutes or so to do some practicing, you don’t want to spend most of that time ruling-up. The Guidline Generator from Scribbers is a great practice aide.

Guideline Generator

Simply select the distances between the lines and hit click the create button. Then once one page has been generated you can print it from within your browser. When printing your paper tell your browser to print just the first page (”Print Pages 1-1″). You can set the Copies to the number of sheets you require.

A great little tool from Scribblers

Monday, July 7, 2008

Zoomorphic Calligraphy

"This new mode was not a matter of script metamorphosing into living
forms which are also readable letters, but of using script to delineate
such forms. Seldom had the flexibility of the Arabic alphabet been so

This practice established itself only relatively late in
Islamic art, when the taboos outlawing religious iconography had lost
some of their power.

[Zoomorphic calligraphy] developed [..] in Ottoman Turkey, India and Qajar Iran [and] was known as early as 1458."


The images of living
creatures fashioned by Jila Peacock from
Persian poetry fall naturally
into a long and distinguished tradition within Islamic art. Unlike many
such traditions of
that art, this one is still full of vitality in our
own day,
and has shown an impressive capacity to regenerate itself.
Indeed, it could well be argued that the art of beautiful writing – for
that is what “calligraphy” means – has, alone of the major Islamic
visual arts, continued its creative evolution without a break from the
first Islamic century until the present day. In other words, it has
been less subject to failing inspiration or to the dominance of ideas
from outside the Islamic world than have all its sister arts, from
architecture to painting, from pottery to carpets. If any one art can
claim to evoke the essential character of the Islamic world, in
medieval as in modern times, this is it.

Read more of Peacay's Zoomorphic Calligraphy Article

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Calligraphy Draws Student Interest

by Minh Thu

Art of the word:
Members of the Young Calligraphers Club demonstrate their handwriting
skills at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ha Noi.
— Photo courtesy of the club

HA NOI — Calligraphy is considered to be a classic art form pursued by adults, but the fact that nearly 1,000 young students are studying it in Ha Noi belies the claim. They gather together at various clubs like the Young Calligraphers Club of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

"We founded the club in November last year with an aim to provide a meeting place for calligraphy aficionados," said Chairman Nguyen Duc Ba. "Anyone fond of this art can register to be a member, free of charge."

Moonlighting Brings Extra Money or Pleasure

For many people the daily grind of 9-5 is enough - life's unrelenting burden to be grumbled about over a can of beer as the sun sets at the local watering hole.

But for others the end of the regular work day does not mean the end of their labors. Rather, it's time to switch hats and move on to the next routine. It's a growing trend. According to the U.S.
Department of Labor, the number of workers in the United States who have a full-time job and a part-time job on the side reached 4.17 million in 2007, up 5 percent from the year before.

For love

A second job isn't always about a getting another paycheck to make ends meet. For some, it's about practicing a craft that one loves and getting a little money for it.

Diane Ellzey of Oak Grove has taught art classes in the Hattiesburg school system for 25 years,
including the last six years at Hattiesburg High School. On the side, she does calligraphy and caricatures. Her calligraphy or artistic handwriting assignments are usually for wedding invitations. Brides send invitations for her to complete their addresses on the envelope
using a special calligraphy pen. She charges $1-$1.25 for each invitation.

"It's a great thing for the bride," Ellzey said. "They have so many other things to deal with. This is just one less thing to worry about." She has practiced this art, off and on, for 30 years since high school. She doesn't run a business and doesn't advertise her work.

She said the work she gets is purely by word-of-mouth, because she doesn't see it as something she has to do. "It's just about what I want to do for fun," she said, "and also about helping people." Nonetheless, it keeps her pretty busy. Currently, she is working on a wedding with
500 invitations, with another wedding lined up calling for the same number of signatures.

"I stay busy and don't even try to be," she said.

The Corel Painter Essentials v4.0.051

This release of Corel Painter Essentials 4 offers a completely
redesigned workspace that improves color selection and helps you
discover different brushes, media and paper. With the new video
tutorials and companion user guide, getting started has never been

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