2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

The Public World, Private Lives, and the Word: The Significance of Islamic Religious Calligraphy on Objects and Architecture
Andrea E. Cluck
Dr. Sara Orel, Faculty Mentor

In Islam, God’s first creation was not light, but the pen. From this ideological seed grew the Islamic calligraphic tradition. It originated as a fitting medium to record the majesty of the Qur’an, believed to be God’s literal word. Religious calligraphy grew to penetrate the public and private lives of Muslims around the world, and has been described as the most typically Islamic out of all the arts. Even today, 1500 years after the advent of Islam, calligraphy continues to appear on everything from mosques to clothing to protective talismans. To foster an understanding of why this is so, this paper studies how and why Muslims have developed a tradition of sacred calligraphy and the general significance of such a tradition. Lastly, it explores how Islamic calligraphy has interacted with public and private objects and architecture to create meaning for both calligrapher and observer.

Keywords: Islam, Calligraphy, Art history, Qur'an, Muslim, mosque, religion, iconoclasm

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 51-2
Location: OP 2210
Time: 3:00

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