In the past few decades, social life, under influence of the development of science and technology, has seen dramatic changes. In the world of ideology and science, the necessity of revising definitions, giving definitions to the new phenomena and the endeavor for reaching new solutions, is of great importance. The fact that mankind has come to pay more attention to itself with new interpretations for the intellect, society, freedom, culture, etc., are all consequences of such a change and transformation.
In the modern world, everyone – according to his/her own status – is seeking to save time, to somewhat seek longevity. Easier access to, and cheaper costs for information – not necessarily knowledge or insight – can explain for the inevitable changes a person’s social and individual life is undergoing. Today, there are very few a people that in addition to having a profession have proficiency in knowledge and insight. The days have long gone when knowledge and insight were considered as a person’s identity. To give a bitter criticism of today’s era, one could say the era of philosophers and principled believers has come to an end.
Transformation is a natural phenomenon in Nature, but developments of the contemporary has facilitated speedy achievements in human life. Certainly, as well as ironically, more time is needed for the high tide to calm down for the real perspective to emerge, but a tide, naturally and inevitably, brings with itself scum and thereby clouds the perspective. This is not a result of transformation. One must wait for the tide to calm down.
One of the features of social change is the strengthening of the culture of those nations who own today’s communications facilities, and its impact on the culture of other nations that lack accessibility. During such a trend and procedure, the essentials and parts of the culture of historical nations are seriously put in harm’s way, because of a wide variety of reasons that requires proper study.
A nation losing its culture and heritage, in whatever measure, actually loses its own national identity.
Script, language, thought and culture, complement each other and have been the means of expression throughout history. They influenced each other and have gradually been refined and developed. The writing of the different languages is not mere “penmanship”. The script of each and every language is a unique means of representing important features of a nation. The thousands of years of the movement of hands of inscribers have affected the formation of letters and characters. The softness, flexibility, harshness, simplicity, intricacy, legibility, illegibility, enigmatic features, etc. have all stemmed from the very primitive and basic movements of the hand of writers; movements which have a cultural background. Writing is a cultural institution and a result of the identity and changes in the identity of its culture. One can categorize the writings of every nation into two basic groups: First; the simple script, which is clear, legible and comprises rounded, cuneiform-like letters and characters; Second; the “cursive” or “calligraphic” script with its enigmatic features.
There are different stories to different nations on the advent of writing. Some say writing is a holy gift to mankind, while some others say it is the result of a sacred talent. Even those nations that have recently invented a style of writing have their own interesting legends about its creation. The formation of writing or a language, whether it is a holy gift, an objective and systematic invention, or a result of historical changes, has come to prove and represent man’s social life and all its internal values. Among the scripts of the Muslim world, the Kufic style is unique. Its graphical features, application and interpretations totally distinguish it from other styles of writing.
It seems odd, but the Kufic style appeared very sudden and in complete form. Even odder is that it disappeared so suddenly. It seems the Kufic style rose and fell by itself. It is neither a development of an earlier style of writing nor has a style developed from it – except its impact on the mode with which calligraphers wield their pen. In his notes on and analyses of writing, the late Zabihollah Behrouz speculates that the Kufic style might have stemmed from the Pahlavi style of writing of ancient Iran (Persia as it wash then called), an idea worth pondering. Other researchers believe that the Kufic style is among those styles of writing whose inventor had a calm and tranquil personality. These researchers try to prove their theory by referring to some epitaphs (inscriptions on tombstones) found in the land of Hijaz – the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula that contains the cities of Mecca, Medina, Tayef and Jeddah.
No matter what the roots of the Kufic style were, this style of calligraphy – from its very birth – has been extensively used to write the text of the Holy Qur’an. The writers who wrote in Kufic were successful in developing a style that had a more religious tendency rather than a routine social usage.
The Kufic style was mostly developed based upon the graphical features of the straight and horizontal line (on which the writer writes) and by stretching the horizontal part of letters, which is easy for the eye. The Kufic style is pictured in a sense that it looks like the contours of plains and deserts when they meets the contours of rocks and mountains. Kufic underwent decorative changes as it was extensively used in inscriptions on wood, clay, metal and stones. Such changes made the Kufic transform into a quite different form, which changed its style, making the way the pen was trimmed to write almost a forgotten art.
Kufic has experienced a whole range of cultural and artistic changes that Muslim lands, especially Iran, have in essence had. This is because of its extensive use in religious texts, architecture and inscription. Kufic style vanished as rapidly and sudden as it came into existence – excluding many contemporary efforts by writers who have tried to emulate to somewhat revive the style.
In 1372 Solar Hijri (1993), Seyed Vahid Jazayeri experienced a spiritual enlightenment. Each and every human being is somehow connected to his ancestors, apart from their ancestors’ learning and acquired skills. This might sound strange in the light of what we call the modern man. Seyed Vahid had been carrying secrets with him he wasn’t aware of himself.
- How many ways can you trim and knife a pen to use it for different writings?
- How many times can you trim a pen so it can revive what has been lost?
What could be seen was a pen in Seyed Vahid’s hand that had the scars and trimmings of a pen that a century ago had the honour to write the Kufic style.
Now, you could write Kufic. It should have been celebrated and made public, but wait, you had to keep quiet because such an event never ceased to amaze the eyes of poachers. Seyed Vahid had to conceal the pen from those who had foul intentions to buy it for nothing. These years were the years of cultivation; observing and studying old scripts that spoke for themselves. In these years of silence, Seyed Vahid silently cultivated and developed the Kufic eye, as well as style, as a result of which the book “Kufic Encyclopedia” came into being.
The Kufic pen has woken up after centuries of hibernation. The graphic features of this style of calligraphy will once again never cease to amaze its anticipating viewers. We might not be able to use the style in our daily writings, but its advent once again would be a source for new perspectives to emerge. The graphic features of the Kufic style might take the lead in becoming the guiding light of new perspectives, and its aesthetic strokes [in becoming] a healing hand in this “dark” millennium. Seyed Vahid is looking at the horizon where secrets galore. He is pointing to a new perspective.
Commendable are his works!