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HOME : Islamic Art : Islamic Masterpieces : Wood Plaque with Inscriptions
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Wood Plaque with Inscriptions - SF.206
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 700 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 2.2" (5.6cm) high x 8.1" (20.6cm) wide
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Wood

Additional Information: This is a contract.

Location: Great Britain
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The development of sophisticated calligraphy as an art form is not unique to Islamic culture. Calligraphy has been used in the Islamic world though to a much greater extent, in astonishingly varied and imaginative ways, having taken the written word far beyond pen and parchment, into all art forms and materials. The genius of Islamic calligraphy lies not only in the endless creativity and versatility of calligraphers, but also in the balance achieved between transmitting a text and expressing its meaning through a formal aesthetic code. As Arabic was the language in which the Qu’ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century, the language, and subsequently the art of calligraphy was held in great esteem. In consequence calligraphers were among the most highly regarded artists in Islamic societies. Their status was based on the excellence of their work, but also on the eminence of their teachers. As a result, a literary tradition developed, in which the history of calligraphy was conceived as an uninterrupted chain of transmission between masters and pupils. Training usually took a number of years, with the pupil learning to copy exactly models provided by the teacher. Only when the pupil had mastered certain principles by this method could he or she, as both men and women trained as calligraphers, become a master on his own terms and begin to create separately from the teacher. Our wooden plaque has very little to do with a religious, scientific or intellectual background, as the text regards the transaction relative to a plot of land. And as mundane such an activity might appear, it represents though an important piece of information on the principles and development of Islamic transactions and finance during that period. - (SF.206)


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