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

By the tenth century, the rapid spread of Islam prompted calligraphers to refine and standardize six cursive scripts—thuluth, muhaqqaq, naskh, rayhani, tauqi, and riqa—used for literary, religious, and administrative works. Together with the introduction of paper in the mid–eighth century from China, the development of more legible and easily transcribable scripts revolutionized manuscript production throughout the Islamic world. In fifteenth–century Iran, another script known as nasta`liq was devised for the transcription of poetry. This script was also employed in India and Turkey, where Persian literary culture prevailed.


The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
Exhibition List | Online Exhibitions

All presented material is copyright © Smithsonian Institution, 2008 except where otherwise noted.