|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."
(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
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
One of the remarkable artists who lived in Safavid time is Mir
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.