FROM MONUMENTS TO HOMES: EVOLUTION OF ISLAMIC WALL ART

ISLAMIC WALL ART

Are you looking for Islamic wall and door hangings? Have you been contemplating displaying in your residence or office an Islamic canvas print wall hanging?

If so, then an understanding of the basics of Islamic calligraphy art would be of help to you.

Islamic calligraphy art was born after the emergence of Islam as the primary religion in the Arabian desert.

As Islam prohibits drawing pictures of humans and animals, artists began expressing their creative talent by transcribing verses from the Glorious Quran in their beautiful handwriting.

Calligraphy, which stands for beautiful handwriting, thus became the main form of wall art in Muslim-ruled territories such as the Ottoman empire, the Safavid empire or the Mughal empire. Be it the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey or the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, the world-famous monuments built by Muslims all have their on their walls or domes verses from the Quran engraved in different fonts of Arabic calligraphy.

On account of its loops, curves, dots, dashes, diacritical marks and broken letters that seamlessly merge into other letters, the Arabic script rendered itself wonderfully to the art of calligraphy.

As Muslims settled or ruled in varied parts of the world – from Spain, Turkey and Arabia to Iran and India, they hired skilled artists and artisans to display on their monuments and buildings Arabic calligraphy art. There were artists who would not just write, but also paint, carve, stich or etch the text on ceramics, wooden artefacts and carpets.

Each geographical region developed its own unique font of Arabic calligraphy – such as the straight and angular Kufic font in Kufa, Iraq; the decorative, elaborate, intricate and often dotted Diwani font in Istanbul, Turkey; the free-style figurative Tughra kind of writing that flourished in parts of northern India, the simple yet brilliant Nast’aliq style that took shape in Iran.

As Muslim-ruled empires were subdued by European colonialists, the art of Arabic calligraphy lost patronage, but made a comeback with new nations gaining independence after the Second World War.

In the current age, there has been a spurt of interest in the art of Arabic calligraphy, partly on account of the digital revolution, in particular, e-commerce. From historical monuments, Arabic calligraphy can now be found in modern apartments. There are now several online stores from where one can purchase Islamic wall and door hangings, be it wall stickers or digital paper prints or wall carpets, or an Islamic canvas print wall hanging.  People can display these wall hangings in their living or working spaces as spiritual reminders or a visual/artistic expressions of their beliefs. They can also be presented as gifts to loved ones or friends or family members on festivals or weddings. Many young artists now sell their work on ecommerce sites such as Etsy and social media channels such as Instagram. They also make custom art for buyers.

Quite obviously, Arabic calligraphy art is seeing much progress in terms of the art, the scale, the availability and buyer profile.

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