Stone-Inscriptions with Kufic Script, the Global Cultural Heritage

Stone inscriptions, an opportunity for letter designers

The vast quantity of works that emerged on stone must certainly have provided an extraordinary range of opportunities for letter designers in different parts of the world. Works of this kind demonstrate the calligraphic skills of artisans and calligraphers who were using materials other than paper, potteries and coins.

There are in fact, specific designing methods which characterize the text design tendencies that occurred in different parts of the world. These design tendencies were thought to have appeared in designs to highlight the varied tastes and different experiences of the artists. However, it is probably also worth remembering that over time these appear to take form in relation to their patrons and purposes. The important thing to note is that the differences in methods seem to concern the purposes as well as the designs of individual texts.

It hardly needs to be said that post-Kufic styles of calligraphy were just as amenable to social influence and the control of the significant figures of their time. In the past, there have been studies conducted on the surviving documents of the Kufic era which confirm and illustrate the local tendencies that were used. Unfortunately, the evidence and findings for such studies are limited, in part, perhaps, by the inability of modern calligraphy researchers to interpret their complicated and illegible methods. We therefore propose that future investigations should assess not only the evidence that is currently available, but also address the issues that have been raised throughout this series of books

The Kufic style of calligraphy

It is now thought that Kufic calligraphy was first used by Muslims in their correspondence. In fact, some of the oldest surviving manuscripts use the Kufic style of calligraphy, and there is also evidence that this particular method was used in some ancient Quran texts. It might be inferred that the extraordinary, marvellous stylistic range within the Kufic script (such as the Primary, Eastern and Western styles) results from the diversity of its early applications, and that this is what has made Kufic suitable for so formal purposes, from the simplest to the most complex.

Moreover, the decorative features used with this style of calligraphy (such as the ones observed in the Kufic inscriptions on buildings) and writing methods (such as those seen in manuscripts) all show similarities and common points that make this style of writing much easier to recognize than other traditional styles of calligraphy (such as Naskh and Thulth).

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