Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Calligraphy as a way of soothing yourself

I was glancing through a magazine called The Fountain http://www.fountainmagazine.com/ last night and ran across an article about Turkish calligraphy. The article explored the work of a contemporary calligrapher named Osman Sahin who creates his calligraphic art in Arabic script.

I have always found Arabic calligraphy (and all forms of calligraphy for that matter) extraordinarily beautiful.

Something I hadn't thought about was the mending nature of the act of making calligraphy. The article indicates that for centuries, Turks have known that calligraphy (called Hat and pronounced "hut")actually serves to salve our hurt and our brokenness. Above is a simple, soothing calligraphic drawing I made the other day in my visual journal.

The article I was reading was written Nisa Nur Terzi. Here's what Nisa has to say:

During the Ottoman era, some of the sick were treated by using fine arts like Hat together with soothing Sufi music and the art of Ebru (water marbling) drawing.

The beauty present in Islamic-Turkish calligraphy is said to be a direct reflection of the inner soul of the calligrapher. As Osman Sahin himself says, “Whenever I am stressed, I pick up my pen and draw. This is because the art of Hat has a therapeutic aspect to it.

The origins of Hat date back to the early Islamic era when manuscripts of the Qur’an were being recorded and handwritten. However, at that time there was little emphasis on the style of writing but greater emphasis on the message being revealed. It was centuries later, during the Ottoman Era, that Turks focused on the style of writing.

It is a common saying among Muslims that “the
Qur’an was revealed in Mecca, recited in Egypt and written in Istanbul.” The Ottoman Turks produced and perfected various styles of script that were passed on throughout the Muslim world.

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