General

FROM MONUMENTS TO HOMES EVOLUTION OF ISLAMIC WALL ART

ISLAMIC WALL ART

Are you looking to buy Islamic wall art? Have you been thinking of decorating your home with Islamic art wall hangings? Well, perhaps it would help to learn briefly about Islamic calligraphy, which is the mainstay of Islamic wallart.

Islamic calligraphy is the art of writing the verses of the Quran in a stylish, artistic manner. This form of art was born not long after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). First, there was a need to transcribe the Quran in the form of a book, so different readable fonts were developed to facilitate easy writing and reading of the holy verses.

Secondly, as Islam forbade imagery of human beings or animals, newer, more artistic fonts of writing the Arabic script were developed. This led to Islamic calligraphy emerging as a distinct school of wall art. In the absence of figurative wall paintings, the walls, doors, and domes of monuments in Muslim-ruled territories were decorated with Islamic calligraphy.

Calligraphy, the Greek word for ‘beautiful writing’, thus became the primary expression of art in Muslim empires – from Ottoman sultanate in the west to Mughal dynasty in the east – and decorated many world-famous monuments such as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, or the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

It also helped the artists that the Arabic script rendered itself perfectly to calligraphy. The script ’s loops, curves, dashes, diacritical marks, and dots can be deftly manipulated to create a beautiful piece of writing. Especially, letters can be broken to less than half their full form to enable them to blend seamlessly into other letters.

ISLAMIC WALL ART

As Muslims ruled different parts of the world – from the Middle East and North Africa to Central and South Asia, they roped in well-trained artists to adorn their monuments and buildings with Islamic calligraphy. The artists would also paint/carve/stick/etch verses on ceramics, wooden artifacts, and carpets. Calligraphers were also employed to pen court papers.

Each region developed its own style of Islamic calligraphy. The Kufic style of straight, angular strokes writing developed in Kufa, Iraq; the Diwani style of elaborate and intricate writing took off in Istanbul, Turkey; the Tughra style of figurative writing thrived in northern India.

With the European colonization of Muslim-populated or Muslim-ruled territories, Islamic calligraphy received a setback but made a comeback when new nations gained independence. In places like Gulf Arab countries, the art is flourishing but in places like India, it’s on a steady decline.

Recently, on account of e-commerce and social media, has been a sudden spurt in interest in Islamic calligraphy. From historical monuments, Islamic calligraphy now finds itself in modern, minimal spaces… One can find a lot of online art stores selling Islamic wall art hangings such as low-cost vinyl stickers, premium colorful canvas prints, stainless steel frames, and ceramic plates. People now buy Islamic wall art from Amazon, eBay, and Etsy as well as individual online art stores. Islamic wall art is also sought after to be given as a gift it to a friend or a newlywed couple. Young artists and curators now sell their artworks online and often customized according to a patron’s wishes.Clearly, Islamic calligraphy has seen major changes over the years in terms of the art itself, the scale, the accessibility and the profile of its patrons.