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The extensive use of writing is a hallmark of Islamic civilization. Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, became one of the main methods of artistic expression from the seventh century to the present in almost all regions from the far Maghrib, or Islamic West, to India and beyond. In this groundbreaking book, Sheila Blair explains this art form to modern readers and shows them how to identify, understand, and appreciate its varied styles and modes. The book is designed to offer a standardized terminology for describing various styles of Islamic calligraphy and to help readers appreciate why calligraphy has long been so important in Islamic civilization. The argument is enhanced by the inclusion of more than 150 color illustrations, as well as over 100 black-and-white details that highlight the salient features of the individual scripts and hands. The illustrations are accompanied by detailed analyses telling the reader what to look for in determining both style and quality of script. This beautiful new book is an ideal reference for anyone with an interest in Islamic art.
SHEILA S. BLAIR is the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College. She is author of the prize-winning Islamic Inscriptions and A Compendium of Chronicles: Rashid al-Din’s Illustrated History of the World.