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Photo: Masoud
































































































Calligrapher

Qolam-hossein Amir Khani

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Iranian Master in Persian Calligraphy
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Born in Taleqan, Iran, 1939

Nastaliq Calligrapher
Director of Superior Council and Member Of The Board Of Trustees of Iranian Calligraphers Society

He studied calligraphy under the supervision Hossein Mirkhani and Hasan Mirkhani (1961).

Exhibitions:
Numerous individual and group exhibitions in Iran
Exhibitions in France, Pakistan, Syria and UK

Some of his works:
Anthology Of Sadi (Talat Haq)
Penmanship Models
Educational booklets and albums
In Memory Of Kalhor
Hafiz Sonnets
Anthology Of Khajus Odes...
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About: Essay by Ali Soltani
The advent of the writing characters is the greatest event that took place at the beginning of history by man. If the writing characters were not created and human civilization wouldn't develop.

Our Holy Prophet, Mohammad, (P.B.U.H.) considers knowledge as a prey, which should be stringed by writing; otherwise it will soon be illumed from memory.

In the religion of Islam great value has been given to the beautiful writing. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said," whoever writs In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful, goes to heaven without being reckoned."

Ali (A.S.) declares the location and splendor of calligraphy as such: "Good handwriting brings wealth for the poor, unlimited beauty for the rich and perfection for the higher ranks."

The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) had great interest and tried his best to Muslims: In "Badr war" he only freed the enemy refugees they taught writing to Muslims.

As history says, in Islamic period there has been great interest to writing. In the beginning of this period " Kufic " writing was very popular and Arabs and Persians wrote in this writing. During in more than four centuries, this writing gradually grew till in the beginning of the 5th century reached its peak of development and blooming. Perhaps using Kufic writing in the form of books had been for amusement from 300A.H. Some believe that the current writing has been a kind of Kufic writing, which with some changes became famous as Persian KufiC. It is said that Iranian handwriting for other needs was Naskh a kind of writing, which is called the mother of eastern writings.

The researchers says when Abu Ali Hossein ebn-e Moghleh Beizavi, realized the hardness of Kufic writing, he derived Naskh out of it and as this writing was written with curved letters, it seemed easier and more clear. Because of this, Iranian people welcomed it very much. They used Naskh to inscribe the holy Quran and other Islamic books.

Ebn-e Moghleh in the 3rd century led calligraphy into a new stage. He tried to complete the current writing of that time and coined rules for it. Ebn-e Bavvad, after him, made improvements in Naskh. After him, Yaghout, who was one of the remarkable Islamic calligraphers added more power to this art.

In his time different handwriting styles of the Islamic countries were made steady. Yaghout did his best to make the letters pretty and stable.

In 8th to 10th century is considered to be of the best periods of calligraphy. One of the best calligraphers of this time was Ahmad Neirizi whose writing was much appreciated and astonished at, so much so that the teachers recommended their students to be like Ahmad Neirizi in art life, and glitter like him.

From the 8th century on, calligraphy entered into one of its best times and three types of Islamic writing Taaligh, Nastaligh , and  Shkaste Nastaligh  (Broken Nastaligh) appeared. Though the alphabet used is taken from Arabic, it must be considered as Iranian inventions.   

Nastaligh, which is now known as the most beautiful writing is a combination of Naskh and Taaligh. It seems Mir Ali Tabrizi who lived in the time of Amir Teimour Gourkani must have created it. This writing was applied so frequently that it is said that most books were written in it.

One of the remarkable artists who lived in Safavid time is Mir Emad. He was an innovative in coordinating of letters. In the last ten years of his life, he chose an independent style which was followed by all other calligraphers. He wrote delicately and powerfully and he had the ability in writing all sorts of writing, to the extent that Mir Emad did his best to complete and develop Nastaligh. The development of broken writing was accomplished by Abdul Majid Tleghani in 12th Century.

Broken handwriting which was created by Morteza Gholi Khan Shamlou and completed by Mirza Shafia Harati.

The 13th Century is one of the periods of Iranian calligraphy. In this period, famous artists appeared and left masterpieces, for instance Mirza Mohammad Reza Kalhor in pursuance to Mir Emad style generated changes in Nastaligh, which is said to be the result of his efforts. Making letter circles smaller than usual and by altering some other rules, he gave more life to this art. But unfortunately, good markets of lead printing and typewriters on one side and new schools being heedless in this respect, on the other, faded this beautiful flower of life, to the extent that in the history of calligraphy in the past fifty years, only a few stars such as: Emadol Kottab, Majidi, Golestaneh, Kaveh, and other great men of calligraphy, Sayed Hassan and Sayed Hossein Mirkhani, were glittering.  The last star of this heavenly caravan is mentoring Gholam Hossein Amirkhani. His amorous efforts in the heart of calligraphy caused a new wave and he became the leader of the caravan, which from Mir Ali to Mirkhani, each took great steps for the sake of this art. He who is educated under the influence of Sayed Hossein Mirkhani s instructions, made great alterations in Nastaligh. The scope of this change is so great that only by a comparative deep studying and research one can reach the new borders of his writing s truth. For instance compositions of circles in his work is a bit bigger than the circles of whole letters, while the classic rules say that the circles must be equal. It is a new style that each circle carries the visual burden of the previous letters.       

Professor Gh.H. Amirkhani while teaching in Iranian Calligraphers Association classes had mentioned. This style of calligraphy was done unconsciously and it hasn't been solely my intention. However it hasn’t made any changes in style of my work, because this type of work has been coupled with my mind.

He hopes that research in Iranian calligraphy would continue on in depth and more extensively to be a mean for fertility of the tree of knowledge. Of other notable aspects of art is Gh.H. Amirkhani s works is homogeneity and coordination among the different sections of his reed pen. This fondness in a pleasant composition is done so skillfully that the viewer sees no other than an artful balance. This magnificent innovation made the punctilious to talk about it. Aidin Aghdashlou, influenced by these innovations writes: His fine penmanship in writing all types of Nastaligh is a rare one, which only belongs to himself, and has numerous followers. His following Mirza Reza Kalhor has enliven this type of writing style up to now.

Mentor Gh.H. Amirkhani, in his course of calligraphy and art affairs is grateful of blessed mentor Sayed Hassan Mirkhani and this has appeared in his writing and his interviews, if it were not his assistance and firm decision, maybe I had never taken the course of calligraphy. He also mentions the assistance of Keikhosrow Zaeemi, who had, for years been in Iranian calligraphers Association and had good influence on Gh.H. Amirkhani in his success.

Mentor Gh.H. Amirkhani, in Iranian calligraphers Association, was founder of a style, which has today expanded all over our Islamic country. In the Association, on the crown of which, he is glittering, the style of mirror is popular, and there, truthfulness lies before calligraphy.
About: Essay by Khosro Zaimi

When Amir Ali Tabrizi formulated the set of rules, by which Nastaliq script acquired its orderly features, the artists and art connoisseurs of his time were convinced that the pen in question had reached its culminating point. Even the poets were chanting poems in this sense.

Yet, in the course of several centuries, such great masters, as Mir Emad and later on, Mirza Qolam Reza Isfahani and Kalhor, followed by Emad-ol-Kottab, who all brought forth considerable developments in Nastaliq, elicited similar reactions from the art experts of their own times.

And today, some fifty years after Emad-ol-Kottab, contemporary artist, Qolam Hossein Amir Khani, benefiting from the various styles and schools left behind by the masters of past eras, has been able to give birth to a new style of Nastaliq, which at once embodies the refinement and the solidity of the various examples extant, thus showing that any art, at any stage of development, is apt to undergo modifications on its way towards perfection.

Understanding works of art cannot be achieved unless a sufficient experience is gained and a comparative visual survey is made concerning them. I have made this comparison and survey viewing Amir Khani’s composition of the Opening Sentence of Quran, printed in the conclusion entitled Ghanj Nur. Having spent much time in doing so, and paid attention to the slightest details, I have reached the conclusion that, beyond doubt, Amir Khani has created an execution of this text that is more elegant and more solid than those produced at any time. Even in punctuating its letters, he has been as meticulous and perseverant as "the astronomer who the stars observes".

In this and other works of Amir Khani published in the abovementioned collection, what soon becomes clear is that his masterful touch is totally subordinated to his intellect; and it is thus that a great calligrapher can create masterpieces from within his creative genius.

Beside the (considerable) number of pupil’s trainee by Amir Khani, who are now eagerly emulating his style, the majority of other contemporary Nastaliq calligraphers also seem to follow his manner.

I have been acquainted with the master for over 25 years, and therefore know the ordeal he has been through, as have all geniuses, in this quest of his.

Amir Khani is also unsurpassed in the penmanship of book-cover titles. He knows which pen to select for any particular type of title; and he imposes such precisely calculated spacing upon the graphic elements that, out of a mere book-cover, a masterpiece is brought into being. He has acquired this insight thanks to his cooperation with artists of other disciplines.

The only criticism, which I believe, may be voiced against Amir Khani is that, although he has created a great number of works –all masterfully penned and expressive of literary, religious or moral advice, and therefore instructive in some sense or another, since, as a philosopher has said, "One of the virtues of repetition is its power of penetration". -, Yet he should not neglecting the boundless ocean of Persian literature. Individual pages of calligraphy are viewed by a few whereas books are published in large circulations throughout the world. The social impact of a hook is stronger than that of any other medium, and copying one is paying homage to the services rendered by some prominent figure of literature.

Experience has show that poetic anthologies and literary classics are more readily attracted to private libraries, when they are handsomely printed and bound. In this way, they can better represent the original culture of our fatherland.

Such superb books as "Talat Haq", Hatef’s”, "Tarji-band" and "Tarkib-band"  of Mohtashem Kashani (all penned by master Amir Khani), have appeased some of the thirst of the amateurs. And I hope that the short span of unworthy lives we are allotted will permit us to admire further literary works by the pen of this able artist.

It is notable that, since 1979 until very recently, Amir Khani devoted most of his time to lead “Iranian Calligraphers Association”. But penmanship is a time consuming activity, and time has been scarce for Amir Khani amidst his administrative chores.

Although some of his early students, who are now masters in their own right, have indeed copied and published significant books, including "Sokhan Eshq", penned by Bakhtiari, and "Twin Couplets" of Baba-Taher and Hafez, scripted by Falsafi, who have both been highly successful in their endeavours, still the expectation of contemplating new works by Amir Khani remains.

I have both numerous memories to recount about Amir Khani and his regretted teacher, the late master Hossein Mirkhani, but limited space forbids me to do so. And I deeply regret the absence among us of master Mirkhani, who would have witnessed the realization of his predictions concerning Amir Khani.

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Iranian Contemporary Calligraphers
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