has been considered among the artistic symbols, letters and elements,
which form the word, always bear undeniable esthetic qualities. Iranian
Calligraphic Styles, such as Taliq, Nastaliq, Naskh, Thulth, Reqa, Towqi,
Shekasteh, Kufic and decorative scripts, stands proud as charming among
those of every other nation; particularly so, when those are adorned
with illumination, which bestows hundred-fold prominence to their
Indeed, Iranian calligraphy
truly deserves such illuminations, and such a reverence; its
masterpieces, when framed and set upon walls, bear all the attraction of
great paintings, affecting even foreigners. Thus many of them are now
lovingly collecting items of Iranian Calligraphy.
Kings and Princes have always been fond of penmanship; Soltan Oveis and
Soltan Ahmad Jalayer, Ibrahim Mirza and Baisonqor Gourkani, Shah Tahmasb,
Bahram Mirza and his brother, Ibrahim Mirza Safavi, Fath Ali Shah and
Abbas Mirza, Mohammad Ali Mirza Dolatshah, as well as many personalities
and ministers, and also a number of Qajar Princesses, have all been
famous in calligraphers.
masters in Taliq were:
Khajeh Taj, Abdol Hai, Moinoddin, Darvish Abdollah, Khajeh Ekhtiar and
Mir Ali Heravi, Soltan Ali, Mir Mohammad Baqer, Soltan Mohammd Nour,
Soltan Mohammad Khandan, Mohammad Abrishami, Mir Jan, Mohammad ebneh
Eshaq, Khajeh Ibrahim, Mohammad Qasem Shadi Shah, Abdi, Shah Mahmoud,
Moezeddin Mohammad, Mir Seyed Ahmad, Malek Deilami, Mohammad Hossein
Tabrizi, Mohammad Zaman, Mir Emad, Shah Mohammad, Baba Shah Mohammad
Reza Tabrizi, Alireza Abbasi and Mohammad Saleh;
Morteza Qoli Soltan, Shafia, Mirza Hassan Kermani, Darvish Abdolmajid,
Mirza Kouchak, Mirza Abdolqasem and Motamedoldoleh Neshat,
hundreds of other illustrious names of past calligraphers.
of various styles of penmanship, esthetic changes and developments of
Iranian calligraphy, assess essential esthetic variations, evaluate the
degrees of evolution attained and discover the brilliant agility of
mind within the context of history, show that, although certain decays
be more or less conspicuous in the course of history of calligraphy,
this very beauty has kept it from annihilation.
of the average Iranian spectator is basically familiar with calligraphy,
so that, even though he (she) may not be a calligrapher Himself
(herself), nevertheless has a close recollection of tradition of
penmanship. This “recollection”,
which bears extensive influence from the works of the immediately
preceding generation, generally corresponds with the latest basics
evolved by the present one, and thus has a relatively clear-cut opinion
about calligraphic esthetics. Therefore, it is not so strange that this “recollection”
may not deem a panel penned by Mir Ali Heravi (16th century
A.D.). Obviously, such a judgment is an unjust one; rather, to be fair,
one should recognize and evaluate highs and lows of calligraphic styles
by the criteria prevalent in their own time.
this respect, Iranian calligraphy has followed a path similar to that of
Iranian painting. Thanks to innovations achieved by creative minds of
Iranian artists, various manners and schools have left such distinct
influences, that in most cases , it seems quite easy and safe to single
out a work executed in conformity with Iranian Artist’s ideal of beauty.
both calligraphy and artistry, acquired foreign elements were properly
and entirely modified in accordance with Iranian taste, and combined
with all the innate elements, traditions and memories of this nation.
All this was achieved at once, but rather slowly, with discipline, from
father to son and from hand to hand.
calligraphy, Iranian artist made truly immense contribution by
innovating Nastaliq script and the latest step of evolution was taken
when created Shekasteh Nastaliq. Similarly in painting, at about the
same time, when Nastaliq script was being born, artistic originality of
Iranian painting achieved utmost brilliancy and in the same time of
Shafia Heravi, while Shekasteh Nastaliq was reaching its ideal
configuration, followers of the school of Reza Abbasi and Aqa Reza were
busy perfecting sublime curves of their compositions.
evolution of both arts continues until the early 20th century
A.D. Esthetic regulations were set, each complementing previous ones.
Yet, in contemporary period, a totally different event takes place;
Iranian painters and calligraphers suddenly free themselves from the
natural course of progressive artistic evolution. Rejecting every boundary,
they turn back to past styles and manners.
painters take to considering past artistic schools as national elements
and according to their taste and need, start drawing upon them, in part
or entirely. Iranian calligraphers also adopt the same attitude. Many
great masters, instead of continuing the trends, set by their immediate
predecessors, such as Emadolkotab, focus their attention on older
manners, sometimes even reverting to examples set by Mir Emad Hassani,
Abdolrashid Deilami and Assadollah Shirazi.
trend of turning back to the manners of ancient masters had also existed
in the past, as Mirza Reza Kalhor exercised considerably following
examples of Mir Emad, but more in order to learn about the intricacies,
refinements, technical and artistic innovations of notorious styles than
to revert to the past and to revive its esthetic principles.
is the case of many contemporary calligraphers, who exercise in the
manner of Mirza Qolamreza Isfahani or Mir Hossein, writing Chalipa or
Siah-mashq panels, or of others, who freely make use of calligraphy as a
rhythm for composition, rather than an ascetic skill, creating works not
unlike bridges thrown between painting and calligraphy.