Iran Calligraphy historical tour
What would make your trip to Iran more exciting than including Iran calligraphy historical tour in your trip to Iran?! While you are enjoying historical and natural attractions of Iran, it would be an amazing experience to familiarize yourself with Persian calligraphy. After all, Persian calligraphy is one of the artistically significant assets of Iranian culture. Fortunately, there are various resources, including a very famous calligraphy museum in Tehran, that you can use, during your time in Iran, to grasp and appreciate magnificent Persian calligraphy.
In this article, we first describe some of the most important calligraphic styles of the Persian language. Then we will introduce the Calligraphy Museum of Iran where you can visit, during your time in Iran, to practically grasp calligraphic styles of the Persian language and appreciate their beauty!
Persian calligraphy; styles
Persian alphabet or Arabic alphabet?
The Persian language adopted the Arabic alphabet after the Arab invasion of Iran during the seventh century Common Era. However, transition from the Pahlavi alphabet to the Arabic alphabet did not happen overnight. Over more than three centuries, Iranian scholars gradually used the Arabic alphabet to write in Persian and added four extra letters to its original 28 letters. This addition resulted in 32 letters in which the Persian language is written up to this day.
The early history of Persian calligraphy dates back to more than one thousand years ago. A Persian scholar and minister in the service of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad invented, with the help of his brothers, six styles of Persian-Arabic calligraphy. These styles are Mohaqiq, Reyhan, Sols, Naskh, Toqi and Reqa. Among these, Naskh has been more popular and is used in print in Arab countries up to this day.
Figure 1 Naskh. One of the most commonly used scripts of Arabic and Persian
Iranian and Arab scholars and poets used these calligraphic styles up until the fourteenth-century common era when an Iranian calligraph invented the first fully Persian calligraphic style called Ta’liq. The new script was composed of both Naskh’s and Reqa’s stylistic features. The primary usage of the new calligraphic style was in governance and administration of the Iranian states. In fact, some argue that the creation of Ta’liq was an indirect result of ministers and state officials trying to write quicker and easier.
Figure 2 Ta’liq Script. The first fully Persian calligraphic style
Not so long after the invention of Ta’liq, an Iranian calligraph, Mir Ali Tabrizi, combined stylistic features of the Naskh and Ta’liq and invented a new script called Nastaliq. During the past five hundred years, Nastaliq has been the most prominent script used for writing in the Persian language. This time, however, its usage goes far beyond mere administration – poets, historians, religious scholars, and diplomats all used Nastaliq up until the introduction and prevalence of print in Iran.
Figure 3 Nastaliq, the most commonly used Persian script since the 1500s
The practical usage of calligraphic styles in Persian shrank after the introduction of print in Iran by the late 19th Century. However, the artistic and aesthetic value of these calligraphic styles remained and, in some cases, found new rooms for development. For example, Persian calligraphic styles, Nastaliq in particular, have been used in dress designing by some of the most famous Iranian designers. Other modern practical usages of Persian calligraphy include book designs, inscriptions, logos, certificates and tattoos!
Figure 4 Amber Heard’s tattoos. Persian poem written in Nastaliq
If you are interested in visiting the Calligraphic Museum of Iran, you should contact Kental Iran Travel’s website. Kental Iran Travel, an Iran tour guide, offers high-quality touring options in Iran and makes your journey in Iran affordable and memorable. Visit Kentaltravel.com to see Kental Iran Travel’s touring options.
Calligraphic Museum of Iran
A garden filled with pine and cypress trees in central Tehran is home to more than 200 Persian calligraphic items. The Calligraphic Museum of Iran was founded in 2017. The museum is the only permanent calligraphic museum in the country and is located in the Fooladvand Garden in Shariati St. in Tehran. Among the 200 Persian calligraphic items are prestigious albums known as Muraqqa, scrolls, pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, seals, manuscripts and other calligraphy pieces.
The items presented in the Calligraphic Museum of Iran are classified based on the time period they belong to. The timeline of the items starts in the tenth century and ends in the mid-19th century. In terms of calligraphic style, all the styles already mentioned in this article can be found among the museum’s items – these include Kufi, Mohaqiq, Reyhan, Sols, Naskh, Toqi, Reqa, and Nastaliq styles.
The names and identities of many of the calligraphers whose works are presented in the Calligraphic Museum of Iran are unknown. However, the works of some of the most famous Iranian calligraphers are included within the items: Alireza Abbasi, Mirza Ahmad Neyrizi, Mohammad Reza Kalhor, Mohammad Hossein Imad al-Kottab and others. In addition, the officials of the Calligraphic Museum of Iran say there are collections of other items that will gradually be ready for public display in the museum.
Figure 5 The entrance of the Calligraphic Museum of Iran in Tehran, Shariati St.
Persian calligraphy is one of the integral parts of Iranian culture. One can never enter a 15th-century mosque in Isfahan and neglect magnificent calligraphic pieces all over the interior and exterior of the domes and minarets. Therefore, visitors to Iran may want to familiarize themselves with Persian calligraphy and the different styles in which the Persian language is written.
In this article, we offered a brief overview of Persian calligraphy and a short history of the development of its numerous styles. We also introduced the only permanent calligraphy museum in Iran, the Calligraphic Museum of Iran, where more than two hundred calligraphic-related items are being presented to native and foreign visitors interested in Persian calligraphy.
If you are interested in Persian calligraphy, you can visit the Calligraphic Museum of Iran by applying for visa for Iran through the Kental Iran Travel service. Kental Iran Travel, a well-known Iran tour guide agency, offers the most affordable Iran touring services with the highest quality in the nation. Check Kental Iran Travel’s website to see our touring options.