A Sacred Script

  Arabic as the language and script of the Qur’an has a strongly sacred aspect. Arab calligraphers began in the late seventh century to transform what had been until this time disparate writings on stone into a structured script with complex sets of rules. It was to become one of the most beautiful scripts in the world and continues to inspire artists today. Traditionally calligraphers would have copied out whole sections of the Qur’an in the form of books. Now those inspired by the sacred text in the Middle East and beyond, wherever the religion of Islam has spread, write single words or complete verses from the Qur’an in all manner of forms and on a variety of materials, from paper to ceramics. They sometimes use and extend the boundaries of the canonical scripts developed by the great masters – kufic, thuluth and others – or go beyond them entirely, creating their own inspired compositions.