Arabic Calligraphy on Canvas

Calligraphy evolved thousands of years ago and has been practised by many different cultures across the world. Calligraphy is an art form that uses pens, inks, and brushes to create artistic and decorative handwriting. The origin of calligraphy dates all the way back to ancient China during the rule of the Shang Dynasty. At the time, all educated people and high society scholars were expected to be skilled in calligraphy. It was also common for emperors to create their own calligraphic scripts and engrave these upon monuments as a visual display of their power and glory.

Arabic culture in particular has a longstanding and rich relationship with the art of calligraphy. Arabic calligraphy began to emerge during the 7th century CE. Around this time, early Muslims from different regions across the world were documenting the Quran. The Arabic script was used for this purpose since the language represented a commonality between Muslim communities in different geographical regions.  There are several preserved historical Quran manuscripts from these ancient times that showcase exceptional calligraphy skills often complemented by stunning gold colours and elaborate geometric designs. Some famous examples include the Blue Quran, the Mamluk Quran and the Topkapi Manuscript.

Over the years, different regions went on to develop different styles and scripts of Arabic calligraphy. When it comes to modern Arabic calligraphy scripts, however, all of them follow a set of basic techniques developed by a man known as Ibn Muqla. Ibn Muqla was a politician and public figure of the Abbasid Caliphate born in 886 A.D. He was a renowned calligrapher who created the system that modern Arabic calligraphers follow to this day. The system is based on the proportionality between three elements; a dot, the Arabic letter Alif and a circle. The calligrapher decides the relation between all the lettering in the script based on the width of the rhomboid dot created by the pen’s nib. They can then draw the letter Alif based on the standard number of rhomboid dots allowed. This number will vary depending on what type of calligraphic script is being used. After the letter Alif is completed, the calligrapher draws an invisible circle around it, and the proportions of this circle will be used to calculate the proportions of all the proceeding letters.

Interestingly, different types of Arabic calligraphy scripts are used for different purposes. For instance, the Naskh script is now the standard script used to produce Quran copies. Naskh was developed in the 10th century and gained popularity because it was a more developed, legible style that was still aesthetically beautiful. Quranic verses, however, are not just restricted to pages and sheets. Verses of the Quran are often seen adorning the walls and ceilings of mosques, palaces and other buildings. For such architectural purposes, a more eloquent style of Arabic calligraphy known as Thuluth is utilised. Thuluth is even used to portray Quranic verses on pieces of ceramic art, windows, furnishings and other interior surfaces.

Regardless of what script or what surface is being used, the heart of Arabic calligraphy is all about devotion. The act of engaging one’s hands in thoughtfully depicted holy verses is considered a form of devotional practice. Indeed, this is why Master Arabic Calligraphers are held in such high regard. They undertake intensive training they undertake to hone their penmanship and perfect their craft.

Arabic Calligraphy in Modern Times

Arabic Calligraphy Wall Art

In recent years, Arabic calligraphy has experienced significant growth as several countries have launched efforts to ensure its preservation. In 2020, Saudi Arabia announced that it would be the year of Arabic calligraphy. This initiative saw cities hosting sessions for young men and women to learn the art. Additionally, 16 Arab countries officially registered Arabic calligraphy with UNESCO as an intangible form of heritage. Many contemporary artists and designers take inspiration from Arabic calligraphy. For example, Egyptian jewellery designer Azza Fahmy is well-known for featuring Arabic calligraphy in bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc. Arabic calligraphy is even finding its way into the realm of calligraffiti, an art form that combines graffiti, typography and calligraphy. ‘Khatt: Egypt’s Calligraphic Landscape’ is a book by Noha Zayed showcasing photos of Arabic calligraffiti across Egypt’s streets including on shops, trucks, boats, cinemas and more.

Clearly, Arabic calligraphy continues to inspire and attract people even thousands of years from its inception. Nowadays, one of the most popular ways in which contemporary artists are keeping Arabic calligraphy alive is through canvas artworks. By creating Arabic calligraphy on canvas, artists are allowing this ancient art form to be easily incorporated into modern spaces as canvases can easily be hung on the walls of homes or offices. Artists use a variety of materials to create stunning Arabic calligraphy on canvas, including acrylic paint, oil paint, inks, etc.

Buy Arabic Calligraphy Art in Dubai

If you are looking to purchase Arabic calligraphy art in Dubai, you will find that there are a variety of options. Dubai is a hub for the arts filled with stunning art galleries, art shops and art fairs where you can browse to find the perfect piece for your home. is a Dubai-based online art gallery that has an entire collection of beautiful Arab calligraphy artworks. Click here to view Artezaar’s collection of Arabic calligraphy art pieces. Artezaar’s website has 1200 artworks available for sale and allows you to browse the catalogue by theme, style, color, price and more. This means that you will be able to easily navigate the catalogue to find a piece that suits your taste.

Indeed, having Arabic calligraphy wall art in your home is a powerful way to infuse your living space with beauty, cultural richness, and spiritual depth. Each stroke and curve of the calligraphic letters carries a profound meaning, allowing you to connect with the essence of the words and their deeper significance. Arabic calligraphy wall art serves as a constant reminder of the rich heritage and history of the Arab world, creating a sense of connection and appreciation for the culture. Whether you choose a traditional masterpiece or a contemporary interpretation, Arabic calligraphy wall art has the power to transform your living space into a sanctuary of beauty and inspiration.

Blog post written by Guest Blogger Shreya Alagramam

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