Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide Arts of the Islamic World
Introduction calligraphypage 1page 2page 3page 4 Abstract DesignArts of the Book The Art of the Object

Calligraphy, or beautiful writing, is the most revered form of artistic expression in the Islamic world, for it was through the act of writing that the Koran, the word of God revealed in a series of revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, was recorded and given visual form. Consequently, the Arabic script was continuously refined and imaginatively embellished to become the most recognizable and ubiquitous symbol of Islam.

Adapted to every possible surface—from monumental stone structures to delicate silk robes—words, both religious and secular, were employed not only to impart information, but also to lend visual beauty to these works.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
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